Dallas Mavericks' kryptonite is clear, and they must find a solution quickly

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Heading into today's matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dallas Mavericks are 1-3 in their last four games.

The Eastern Conference road trip didn't go as planned for Dallas, as they lost to the Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics. The ending of the Cavs' game was bonkers, as Max Strus drilled a shot at the buzzer from beyond half-court to defeat the Mavs, but the other two losses were a bit concerning.

The Celtics are clearly the best team in the league and the Mavs hung around, but Dallas ultimately lost the game.

Dallas Mavericks' kryptonite is clear, and they must find a solution quickly

After watching this game, it's clear that the Mavs struggle to defend bigs who can stretch the floor and knock down threes. In the Boston game, Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford combined for 6-13 shooting from downtown, and one of them always seemed to be open on the perimeter.

The Mavs weren't contesting many of their threes closely, and many of their looks were wide open. This was even with the Mavs going small, as Maxi Kleber played small-ball center for a large majority of the second half. This came at the expense of Daniel Gafford's minutes, as he didn't play in the second half, and the Mavs must find a way to slow down teams that have centers that can stretch the floor.

Dereck Lively II played great against Boston but was late to contest some of Porzingis' threes that he was knocking down. Lively II is still extremely young, and his all-around game will continue to improve, but he must get a bit better at closing out on shooting bigs quickly.

The same goes for Gafford, but it seems that he won't be on the floor if the other team has a floor-stretching center. Gafford did well when guarding in space against Boston, but it doesn't seem that he will be in the late-game rotations considering the Mavs seem to like to go small late in the game depending on matchups.

With Lively II and Gafford excelling as defenders in drop coverage in the pick and roll or pick and pop, it's clear that the Mavs must get better at slowing down bigs who can stretch the floor, regardless of if it's Kleber, Lively II, or Gafford on the floor.

For all the latest on Maxi Kleber, Daniel Gafford, Dereck Lively II, and Dallas Mavericks basketball, stay tuned.