10 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks can win the NBA Finals this year

Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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2. Improved defense

Like the offense, the Dallas Mavericks' defense has excelled since the trade deadline. The team has been 5-0 since the deadline and has posted the No. 3 defense.

Part of the improvement can be attributed to newcomers Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington. Gafford has been a vital piece down low since coming to Dallas. He leads the team with two blocks a game and averages a double-double with 12.3 points per game and 10.3 rebounds since being. Mav. Gafford is also the team's second defensive rebounder.

As for Washington, he is a menace inside. He can guard the post or use his quick hands to force opponents into difficult shots.

Rookie Dereck Lively II has also been a defensive force for the team. Defensively, the Mavs play better when he is on the court. Part of the reason is that he isn't afraid to fight inside. The rookie is also the team's second-best shot blocker.

Another player who has been playing well on defense is Luka Doncic. The Mavs All-Star leads the team with 1.5 steals and 8.5 defensive rebounds. This isn't bad for a player constantly criticized for his defensive efforts.

The team also does a great job keeping their opponents from scoring high-point totals. During the team's winning streak, none of Dallas' opponents have scored more than 115 points.

Dallas has a chance in every game they play if their defense improves. Like they say, defense wins championships.