Now sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning their last six games. The Mavs seem to have found an offensive rhythm, even without Doncic. However, the key to these victories has most certainly been their performance on the defensive end.
Through 40 games, the Mavs rank fifth in defensive rating (107.4), a vast improvement from last season, where they ranked 21st in the NBA (112.3). Over their last six contests, the Mavs are allowing just 96.7 points per 100 possessions.
This stretch of victories wasn’t against just teams with losing records. Dallas faced the one-seeded Chicago Bulls, who were on a nine-game winning streak, and the Golden State Warriors, who possess the best record in the NBA. The Mavericks held both teams to under 100 points.
“We played great defense,” said Luka Doncic following the victory against Chicago. “We have guys who sacrifice a lot on the defensive end. And we play team defense.”
Dallas also came out victorious against the MVP, Nikola Jokic, and his Denver Nuggets. This was their most important victory, giving Dallas the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Mavs held Denver to just 89 points and forced 26 total turnovers.
Photo from Fresno Bee (Fresnobee.com)
Opponents have shot just 28.7% from three against Dallas over this six-game period and rank first in defensive rebound percentage during the streak (77.9%). Dallas’ defense is becoming elite; the only question is if their offense can stay consistent.
Dallas has maintained this streak without the Mavs’ star rim-protector Kristaps Porzingis, who entered health and safety protocols last week. The Unicorn returning to the lineup soon should help the Mavericks continue this offensive consistency and add another layer of paint defense they have lacked without him.
The Mavs will have another chance to knock off the longest win streak in the NBA on Friday when they face the Memphis Grizzlies, who have now won nine straight.
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