Potential solution to Mavericks' offensive dry spells in playoffs is clear

Dallas Mavericks, Dante Exum, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Dante Exum, Luka Doncic / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks came into Game 4 of their second round series versus the Oklahoma City Thunder with a lot of momentum, as Dallas' physicality and shot-making in the first quarter helped them get out to an early to which the Mavericks held until the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, their offense collapsed late in the contest and they struggled to hit free throws, as Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic were unable to make enough good looks down the stretch of the game.

Dallas' offense also looked stagnate at times throughout points in the second half, as the Thunder were being extremely timely with how they were trapping and hedging on Mavericks' pick-and-rolls.

P.J. Washington finished Game 4 with his third straight 20-point playoff performance, but Washington primarily aided Dallas' offense with the five catch-and-shoot 3-pointers that he made, as the dribble-drive and post-up ability he's shown recently was deterred heavily by Thunder big man Chet Holmgren.

Dante Exum is the solution to Mavericks' offensive dry spells in playoffs

With a lack of shot creation being readily apparent with Irving and Doncic having an off-night, perhaps the Mavericks should've opted to go to Dante Exum more down the stretch of the contest. Exum had five points on 2-4 shooting, but only played five minutes in the entirety of the contest, as he has been relegated to a minimized role In these playoffs because of his offensive struggles against the LA Clippers in the first round.

Exum may have only played five minutes early on in the contest, but he brought energy and pacing to Dallas' offense in his brief opportunity, as he converted on a transition 3-pointer and scored off the dribble in a one-on-one scenario.

Exum helped maintain some of the Mavericks' momentum in the first quarter when it seemed like the Thunder were about to go on a run to take the lead, and he played stout individual defense when matched up against Jalen Williams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Exum has obviously not performed up to par with how he played during the regular season since the playoffs started, but perhaps this can be attributed to him feeling mentally rattled with having not played in an NBA Playoff environment over the last few seasons.

There isn't the highest likelihood that Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd will give Exum an increased opportunity in these playoffs based on how poorly Exum has shot in the playoffs up until Game 4 of this series, but in a faster-paced series perhaps Exum's quick decision making and ability to attack one-on-one could accelerate the Mavericks offense in instances where it tends to dry up.

Only time will tell if P.J. Washington, Kyrie Irving, and Luka Doncic can supplement enough individual offense for the Mavericks to win this series versus the Thunder now that it is tied at 2-2, but if Dallas is seeking some ancillary offensive options, then perhaps Dante Exum should see more time on the floor.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks stay tuned, as we will have you covered throughout the whole span of the Mavericks playoff run.