Mavericks sharpshooter earns Jason Kidd's trust back after unbelievable slump

Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Before Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals, Dallas sharpshooter Tim Hardaway Jr. had struggled for weeks to score a basket. Jason Kidd rolled the dice by playing him heavy minutes in Game 3 to help provide a spark off the bench that the team desperately needed, but he was a nonfactor.

Hardaway Jr. has fallen out of the rotation as the Mavericks' playoff run has continued, and Kidd's trust in him that he earned from dominating early in the regular season was no more.

The last time he had scored was in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he had two points in six minutes of play.

Tim Hardaway Jr. earns Jason Kidd's trust back after shooing slump

Cue the fourth quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

With the Mavericks blowing out the Celtics by 48 points at one point, it was a chance for many bench players to get some playing time.

Hardaway Jr. lit up the court when his number was called. As Hardaway Jr. crossed up Celtics guard Payton Pritchard near the right corner to knock down his third consecutive three, the crowd went wild as Boston had to call another timeout.

Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy made an incredible spin move in the paint and kicked it back out to Hardaway Jr. to the right wing where the Mavericks sharpshooter knocked down his fifth consecutive 3-pointer. He was now 5-5 from downtown, and he showed how great he can be for Dallas when fully locked in.

In a heat check, Hardaway Jr. missed on a potential sixth consecutive three-point attempt. While he and the fans were having fun, Hardaway Jr. still made NBA Finals history to top it all off.

While Hardaway Jr. now shares an NBA Finals record with some of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history, this performance showed that he can still be an electric shooter from beyond the arc.

At one point in the season, Hardaway Jr. was a dependable player to get hot from outside, so much so that he was in the talks for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Being a reliable third scoring option for much of the season opened up the doors for superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving to depend on a reliable perimeter shooter in Hardaway Jr.

While Hardaway Jr. was responsible for 15 points in a 122-84 blowout game, his hot shooting cannot be ignored. If Hardaway Jr. can be a sharpshooter in future roles for the Mavericks in this series if Kidd decides to trust him again in real minutes, the Celtics might need to watch him if he gets going.

For more on Tim Hardaway Jr., Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Finals, stay tuned.