The Dallas Mavericks got a much-needed win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, bringing them back to .500 on the season. However, it was yet another game in which the Mavs came out looking fairly slow and sluggish.
That’s been an issue for Dallas this season, as the team hasn’t lived up to expectations to this point. Too many times, the Mavericks fall behind early in games and are forced to play comeback for the remainder of the game.
Sometimes, they’re able to pull out a comeback victory, but other times they fall short. Against the Grizzlies, Dallas came back from a 14-point deficit to earn its 12th win.
This marked the seventh double-digit comeback win for the Mavs this season. Despite being just over a quarter of the way through the 2021-22 season, this already matches their total of double-digit comebacks in their 2020-21 campaign. This means over half of Dallas’ wins have been double-digit comebacks.
Is this sustainable for the Mavericks?
While it’s great that the Mavericks have shown the ability to claw their way back into games, it’s only a matter of time before this starts being to their detriment. Additionally, there’s been plenty of games this season in which the Mavs fall early in the game and don’t complete the comeback win.
A team with championship aspirations, this issue needs to be resolved with better starts. Whether that’s more changes to the starting lineup or different schemes early in games, something has to change.
Dallas has been one of the worst first quarter teams in the entire NBA this season. The Mavs have shot poorly, converting on just 43.0% of their field goal attempts (27th in NBA) and 31.9% of 3-pointers (25th).
While they’re generally a good passing team, the Mavericks rank 26th in the league in first quarter assists. The inability to score points in the beginning of games has the Mavs ranked 21st in the NBA with a first quarter offensive rating of 105.3 on the season.
What’s interesting is that they actually have a top-five defensive rating (102.7) in first quarters this season, but still don’t have much success due to the poor offense.
“We’re playing at a high level on the defensive end,” said Mavs coach Jason Kidd earlier this week. “Offense is starting to come slowly. This is a good sign.”
If Dallas can continue to play solid defense while also improving offensively, they’ll be the team many thought they could be this season.
Getting Back on Track
As good as Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are, this Mavericks team will only go as far as the role players take them. Reggie Bullock was their biggest offseason acquisition, but has struggled early on.
However, Bullock looks to be finally getting into a groove on his new team. Against Memphis on Wednesday, he knocked down four of his six 3-point attempts, tallying 15 points.
On the season, the Mavs are 4-0 when Bullock scores at least 12 points. That’s a clear indicator that when he plays well, the Mavericks have success.
“We kept our composure in the fourth when things were getting heated and just tried to stay within the game and keep playing the right way. It worked out for us,” said Bullock postgame.
If he and other role players can continue to play well, along with Dallas staying healthy, things could start to look up.