Mavericks veteran is hidden key to solving defensive woes in Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Dante Exum
Dallas Mavericks, Dante Exum / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

After an embarrassing 107-89 loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks were looking to get a momentum-shifting Game 2 win in Boston. Unfortunately for fans of the Mavericks, they were gifted with yet another flat performance that saw the Mavericks get outclassed in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.

After dropping Game 2 105-98, the Mavericks now find themselves in a 2-0 series headed back to Dallas. With Luka Doncic playing at an all-time high, fans have been scratching their head as to why the Mavericks look so scrambled on the biggest stage.

One reason Dallas has been struggling could be because of Kyrie Irving's struggles. Since the start of the Finals, Irving has visibly looked off and it's started to show in his production on the floor. In the first two games, Irving has yet to make a shot from behind the arc and has only combined for a measly 28 points.

Dante Exum is Mavericks' key to solving defensive woes in Finals

Another reason Dallas has continued to struggle against the Celtics has been due to their lack of perimeter defense. The Celtics only shot 25.6 percent from behind the arc in Game 2, but they constantly got open looks. Luckily for Dallas, they may have found their answer to stopping Boston's incredible offense.

After completely falling out of the Mavericks rotation for large portions of this playoff run, Dante Exum may have proven that he needs more minutes on the biggest stage. Exum displayed incredible defense around the perimeter in Sunday's loss to Boston despite only playing 11 minutes.

Exum showcased some of his regular-season defensive intangibles that fans fell in love with early in the season. Exum's ability to guard the perimeter well and the Celtics' two stars was readily apparent by halftime. He also came in and nailed a huge three to keep Dallas connected during one of Boston's many runs during Game 2.

One reason Exum fell out of rotation with the Mavericks was due to his lack of shot-making ability early in the playoffs. After settling into his role off the bench against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals, it's clear that Exum's shot-making woes could be behind him.

With the Mavericks now down two games to none in the NBA Finals, Jason Kidd should be looking for more answers off the bench and one of them could be Exum. Throughout this series, Dallas has gotten cooked around the perimeter with Boston's patent five-out offense, but with more lengthy guards like Exum off the bench, his name could be looked at as a possible solution.

For more updates on Luka Doncic, Dante Exum, and Dallas Mavericks basketball, stay plugged in as we will have you covered.