Dallas Mavericks must improve and correct 3-point defense going forward

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks shocked the world (at least those outside of the metroplex) when they bested the Los Angles Clippers in Game 1 of their first round playoff series. Not only was it a little revenge for how things ended last year, but it was a tall glass of frothy karma for an LA franchise which seemingly tanked down the stretch.

But if the Mavs want to see further success against their higher-seeded rival, they’re going to need to clean some things up. Particularly their three-point perimeter defense.

The Dallas Mavericks can’t expect the Clippers to stay cold beyond the arch

In Game 1, the Dallas Mavericks sank 17 of 36 from deep while arguably the best three-point shooting team in the the league dropped a paltry 11 of 40 shots from the arch. Some may say it was a case of Dallas rising to the challenge, others say it was the Clips wilting under pressure. Frankly, it could be a little of both, but what it isn’t is a result of stellar defense and forced errors.

Sure, the Mavs amped up the pressure on the defensive side, but they didn’t exactly lock down the arch. The Clipper got the looks they wanted – they just didn’t fall. Logic tells us we’re all in store for a little regression to the mean at some point since things have a way of evening out in cases such as these.

Measuring the number of uncontested shots is a great way of gauging how defenses are performing. It stands to reason, other than denying shots entirely, the best way to limit the success of  shot is to contest it. Therefore the more contested shots, the lower the field goal percentage.

Over the past two NBA seasons, we’ve seen uncontested 3FG% nearly 15 percent higher than it’s contested counterpart. Not shocking but certainly notable. Seth Partnow at the Athletic tracked uncontested 3pt shooting this season (weighted for attempts) and rated the LA Clippers as No. 2 in the NBA in uncontested shooting percentage. In other words, when they get open looks, they make open looks.

Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson missed two uncontested 3pt shots each. With those two players each ranking in Seth’s top-10 of 3pt shooting, we shouldn’t expect those easy shots to keep clanging.

For comparison sake, Luka Doncic (8.3%) and Kristaps Porzingis (7.7%) saw far fewer wide open opportunities and had to earn their deep buckets.

I think it’s fair to say things would have looked considerably different if the Clippers would have shot at the same efficiency they have all season. And we should expect exactly that if the Dallas Mavericks don’t improve their 3pt defense going forward.

Next. The Mavs are making a playoff statement. dark

The Mavs looked good in Game 1 but that doesn’t mean corrections aren’t in order. Dallas must improve their perimeter defense and contest all 3-pt shots going forward or things could flip quite easily.

  • Published on 05/24/2021 at 12:21 PM
  • Last updated at 05/24/2021 at 12:22 PM