Mavericks fan-favorite guard has turned into a no-show in playoffs

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks had the opportunity to take control of their series with the LA Clippers by taking a commanding 3-1 lead, as the Mavericks were on the brink of coming back from down 31 points in the first half, but unfortunately, Dallas didn’t have enough juice to carry their comeback effort over the finish line.

There are a variety of reasons as to why the Mavericks are tied 2-2 with the Clippers right now, but getting off to better starts will be paramount for this Mavericks team if they want to win the series, as Dallas had had to crawl themselves back from huge first quarter deficits in both Games 1 and 4.

While the vast majority of attention from Game 4 will be on Luka Doncic’s knee soreness continuing to hinder his performance as well as James Harden waltzing into the paint in the fourth quarter for multiple wide-open floaters, there are other factors that have led to the Mavericks downfall both in Game 4 as well as this entire series.

Dante Exum has turned into a no-show during playoffs

One of those factors has been the play of Dante Exum in this series, as Exum has turned into a complete no-show offensively in this series after looking fantastic throughout stretches of the regular season for the Mavericks as well as a far improved shooter.

To his credit, Exum has only averaged about nine minutes per game in this series and hasn’t been relied upon as heavily as he was during the regular season. 

However, Exum only has three points for this entire series, as he’s looked very hesitant when deciding whether or not he wants to attack the Clippers’ length on the perimeter and he has been shooting extremely poorly. Exum has played decent defense on the other side of things, but he hasn’t stuck with the Clippers’ playmakers and shot creators in one-on-one scenarios in the same air-tight fashion that we saw against some opponents during the regular season.

Exum’s depreciating play was something the Mavericks had to be prepared for, as Exum hasn’t been on the postseason stage since the 2017-18 season with the Utah Jazz. Exum has certainly proven that he’s a capable NBA rotation player this season despite how quick some Mavericks’ fans have been to turn on him in this series, but the playoffs are a totally different animal.

If Exum can’t hit shots or make plays offensively then his role in this series versus the Clippers becomes particularly questionable, especially when one takes into consideration that Josh Green has been playing even better defense than Exum despite still not having found his stride offensively either.

Hopefully Exum can turn things around this postseason even if it’s not in this series, as no one expected his impact in this series to become this negligible. Going forward, the Mavericks could look to supplement someone else into their rotation instead of Exum or they could keep condensing his minutes in lieu of Josh Green or Derrick Jones Jr. playing more.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks and Dante Exum, stay tuned as we will have you covered for the entirety of Dallas’ postseason.