Jason Kidd’s awful decision at end of Mavericks vs Cavs game can’t be overlooked

Dallas Mavericks v Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks fell by a score of 121-119 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, as the Mavericks lost in tantalizing fashion after Max Strus hit a spectacular 59-foot 3-point heave at the buzzer to win the game for Cleveland. That was one of five 3-pointers that Strus hit in the waning moments of the contest, as the half-court shot Strus made was the culmination of an extremely hot fourth-quarter shooting streak.

The Mavericks opted to have Luka Doncic guard Strus for most of the game because Strus is essentially Cleveland’s fourth or fifth option in their starting lineup, and Doncic subsequently allowed two of the fourth-quarter 3-pointers that Strus made (not counting the half-court shot). The other two 3-pointers that Strus canned, came because of lackluster switching on the part of Tim Hardaway Jr.

Jason Kidd’s awful decision at end of Mavericks vs Cavs game can’t be overlooked

While Strus was on the heater of the century, that’s not an excuse for the Mavericks to not pay more defensive attention to him late in the game, especially when you consider how quickly he started to connect from deep. While Hardaway Jr. was out of position on those switches, it’s already known that Hardaway Jr. is a below-average off-ball defender.

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd called a timeout at the 2:35 mark in the fourth quarter, and finally substituted Josh Green in place of Hardaway Jr. after Strus nailed a 3-pointer on four straight Cavaliers’ offensive possessions leading up to Dallas’ timeout. Green finished the game productively for Dallas even if he didn’t have the best shooting night, and he bared the consequences of some poor officiating multiple times down the stretch along with the rest of some of Dallas' players.

Green is undoubtedly a better defensive option to defend a movement shooter like Strus compared to Hardaway Jr., and he’s proven his worth enough this season for Dallas to be in the Mavericks’ closing lineup in the waning moments of the game, especially when you take into consideration that Hardaway Jr. had another dull offensive night with only four points. Green has been way better on offense than Hardaway Jr. too recently, which makes Kidd’s over-dependence on Hardaway Jr. throughout this post All-Star stretch even more puzzling.

Hardaway Jr. had a great start to the season, but he shouldn’t be given a longer leash when he’s been unproductive for a prolonged stretch, as Kidd could at least toss a few minutes out to guys like Jaden Hardy or A.J. Lawson in games that Hardaway Jr. is struggling more. Hardaway Jr. is going to be an important part of Dallas’ playoff run as things stand and he needs to stay locked in as he could come out of his shooting slump at any time, but Kidd can’t be reluctant to diversify Dallas’ lineup when the same issue has persisted in multiple losses, especially this late in the season when the games are becoming more important by the day.

Stay tuned with us for more coverage of the Dallas Mavericks, as the Mavericks have a quick turnaround with a game in Toronto this evening.