Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

3 potential adjustments ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals

By meerna Jun12,2024

Mavs players not named Luka Doncic are a total of 5 of the 32 Finals deep. How can they get on track?

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Can Boston build a 3-0 lead in the series after a strong win in Game 2? Or will Dallas get its first win in Wednesday’s matchup?

Here are 3 potential changes ahead of Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals, presented by YouTube TV (8:30 ET, ABC).

1. Will home rims be good for Mavs shooters?

The Mavs need to get points from players other than Luka Doncic, who is averaging 31 points per game – twice as much as Dallas’ second-leading scorer, PJ Washington (15.5).

  • Kid: “We need to score and now we need to find someone to join Luka and Kai in that scoring category.”

A common refrain in the playoffs is that role players shoot better at home. This continued throughout Dallas’ path to the Finals, as evidenced by the shooting splits for all players not named Doncic or Kyrie Irving.

  • House: 48.6% shooting from the field, 38% from three-point shots
  • Way: 46.1% shooting from the field, 34.7% from three-point shots

In the first two games of the finals in Boston, Dallas players combined to shoot 45% from the field (compared to what they had done in the previous rounds), but just 20.5% from three-point range.

As a team, the Mavs are hitting 24.5% (13 of 53) of their three-point attempts. If we remove 8 of Doncic’s 21 shots, the rest of the team is shooting just 15.6% (5 of 32). Of those 32 three-point attempts, 29 are either open (closest defender over 5 feet away) or wide open (closest defender over 6 feet away).

  • The Mavs have 5 of 23 open 3s: Luka (5 of 14), all other Mavs (0-9)
  • The Mavs are 6 of 24 on wide open 3s: Luka (2 of 4), all other Mavs (4 of 20)

The Mavs must get closer to the percentage of open/wide open threes they had heading into the Finals if they hope to get back into the series. Will a change of location help achieve this?

2. Take advantage of internal matchups

In the second game, Jayson Tatum defended Daniel Gafford with a team-high time of 4:49 – three minutes more than any other player (Horford 1:49), while Jaylen Brown and Derrick White combined for a time of 2:15.

Gafford had two points in the first half but 11 in the second half, using steals and pick-and-rolls with Irving to create scoring opportunities under the basket.

If the Celtics continue to use smaller players against Dallas’ bigs, the Mavs will have to do so take advantage of these size mismatches and make the Celtics pay.

If Kristaps Porzingis he did aggravates his leg injury (Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said after the second game that the big man was fine), Boston’s front line will be reduced due to his absence. This only opens up more opportunities for the biggest players in Dallas.

Maximizing opportunities on the field could be rewarding for Dallas in Game 3.

3. Reduce costly mistakes

Some of the most popular words in Dallas’ postgame press conferences were turnovers and free throws.

  • Free kicks: The final margin of seven points in Game 2 (105-98) matched the difference in the number of missed free throws during the game – Dallas (16 of 24) missed eight and Boston (19 of 20) missed one.
  • Turnover: Dallas committed 15 turnovers in the second game, which Boston converted into 21 points. Boston committed only 10 turnovers to Dallas’ 12 points. This nine-point difference was enough to offset the final scoring margin.
  • Kid: “We have to take care of the ball. Hopefully if we can control the ball we will have more opportunities to score.

The season numbers support the importance of Dallas limiting turnovers.

  • By committing 15+ turns: The Mavs’ record in the regular season and playoffs is 15-19 (.441).
  • If less than 15 turnovers are committed: The Mavs are 47-20 (.701) in the regular season and playoffs

Dallas doesn’t have to play a perfect game to beat Boston and get into this series. However, if the Mavs limit their mistakes, their chances will improve.

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By meerna

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