Mavs Odds & Trends: A Post-All-Star Rise
As the Dallas Mavericks ready for Thursday's visit from the Spurs (7 p.m. tip at the AAC), we prepare in our own particular manner:
With buzzing calculators and sharpened pencils. ... on some Mavs Odds & Trends:
A point of view
The Mavs have often struggled at the defensive end of the court, ranking 23rd in opponent's field-goal percentage (46.4) and 22nd in defensive rating (105.8).
When the Mavs have played respectable defense, they have generally won, posting a record of 25-5 when holding opponents under a field-goal percentage of 45.0.
However, this isn't a team that can rely on its defense … but rather on the ability of their offense to perform at a high enough level to forgive deficiencies at the other end.
When the Mavs have managed to convert shots at an efficiency of at least five percentage points better than their opponent, they are now 22-1 … after shooting 14.2 percentage points better than the Jazz on Tuesday. (Complete coverage of that game, featuring Dirk's top-1- milestone, is here.)
Trending since the Break
Looking before and after the All-Star Break, while posting an improved winning percentage after the break the Mavs have actually out-shot their opponents by a lesser margin (looking at total field-goal percentage), though not by a drastic (or even significant) amount.
However, they've seen a jump in differential in a few other areas that may help explain the rise in winning percentage.
Per NBA.com, we have the Mavs differentials in several categories, with where those differentials rank league-wide before and after the Break:
Where the trends point up
In the chart above, note the shifts in 3-point percentage, free-throw attempts and total rebounds. In all three categories the Mavs have shown marked improvement (in relation to their opponent).
For the most part, these shifts have come because the Mavs offense has upped its efficiency, not the defense. In fact, the Dallas defensive rating has dropped from 105.2 before the break to 107.1 after.
While the Mavs have been slightly better at curbing the number of free-throw attempts they grant opponents, they have faired worse on field-goal percentage and shown only slight improvement 3-point percentage allowed.
This could be an ominous sign as far as playoff hopes go, where defensive proficiency will become a more valued commodity … it also speaks to the dangers this team could pose.
When the Mavs offense gets hot, it can carry them.
Dallas is now 22-1 when having a field-goal percentage at least 5 points above what they allow, they are also 26-4 when posting the same advantage behind the arc (posting a 3-point percentage at least five points above their opponent's).
The Devin Factor
We've previously pointed out how the Mavs trend when Vince Carter is hitting (or missing) shots or when Samuel Dalembert hits certain minute thresholds. Today, we'll look at Devin Harris.
When Harris has at least six assists, as he did against the Jazz, Dallas is 10-2.
The Mavs are 9-4 when he hits at least half of his shot attempts.
We're not suggesting this is a "Devin Thing'' only. ... though we're encouraged by seeing him make some late-game appearances because of his ability to guard the opposing waterbug (something Calderon, by The Eye Test, is not good at).
Indeed, again, the Mavs win when the Mavs shoot well -- as a team.
Dallas is now 13-0 when hitting at least 53 percent of its shots ... a tougher task when the playoffs arrive, to be sure -- but a trend to be sure as well.
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