Monday, February 28, 2011

The Mavericks are Cookin'

(Note: this post will use effective field goal percentage. Here's the definition from Basketball "Effective Field Goal Percentage; the formula is (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA. This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%).")

When the Mavericks had their incredible start in November and December and looked as good as any other team in the league, defense was the common denominator. The Mavericks were fourth in defensive efficiency when I wrote about the defense some months ago. The defense has slipped and that's a topic for another day. The Mavericks have still continued their winning ways but now with a blistering offense that looks practically unstoppable.

Since the Clippers game 16 games ago in which the Mavericks blitzed the Clips in the second half, Dallas is averaging a ridiculous 114.7 points per 100 possessions while having an effective field goal percentage of 55.8 percent. This has to be what Gwen Stefani was talking about when she said this shit is bananas.

To put this in proper perspective, Denver leads the league in offensive efficiency with 109.7 points per 100 possessions. Boston leads the league with a 52.8 effective field goal percentage. Dallas is playing out of its mind offensively over the last month and the next step is why.

If you compare and contrast the Mavericks roster now with the roster that was winning games in November, you can find the reasons. Peja Stojakovic has essentially replaced Caron Butler's production but Rodrique Beaubois has been only "meh" in his handful of games back. Dirk and Tyson Chandler have been continuing their expected brilliance and Shawn Marion continues his steady if not infuriating game of baby hooks and awkward layups.

The difference comes in J.J. Barea and Jason Terry. Terry has scored at least 20 points in five of the past 16 games. The previous 43, he totaled seven games of 20 points or more. It isn't a secret that when Jason Terry is hitting, the Mavericks offense is blazing. But combine that with the ludicrous play of Barea (who leads the league in 3PT percentage since late January) and you suddenly have a potent offense capable of scoring five to eight players in double figures on any given night. Barea had 11 games of double figure scoring in the first 43 games. In the last 16? Another 11. The efficient scoring of Barea and Terry has been made Dallas a tremendous success on offense over the last month.

Now, here comes the shocker. We've all heard the tired adage that the Mavericks are a jumpshooting team with that relies too much on the ultra inefficient two point mid-range jumper. And that was true in the seasons first 43 games (all before the last Clipper game) Dallas only averaged a tad over 18 shots at the rim per game, a very mediocre number at best. And that is saying something.

Over these past 16 games, the Mavericks have been averaging 23.75 shots at the rim per game, highlighted by The Mavericks parade through the lane yesterday afternoon in Toronto, which saw Dallas get to the rim for 30 shot attempts. And these aren't even counting the free throw attempts.

With Roddy Beaubois not even contributing much to the efforts to get to the rim, the chances of Dallas sustaining this are fairly likely. This isn't as much fools gold as other Maverick hot streaks were. Those were predicated on the hot shooting of Jason Terry, Josh Howard and Antoine Wright (*shivvers*)

Maverick fans rejoice: Dallas is (temporarily) an efficient, elite offensive basketball team.

(Advanced stats courtesy of the lovely Che-che-check it out, man.)

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  1. I wish they were peaking like this a month from now.

    Do the Mavs go after Mike Bibby?

  2. I don't have faith that Barea will be playing this insane for playoffs, or that Jet can be counted on to be a consistent scorer

  3. I like Bibby as an insurance policyin the playoffs in case Barea or Terry go off the deep end, but I don't see the Mavs making much noise, especially with the Heat ready to snatch him up.

    I am interested in the Corey Brewer sitatuion:

  4. Just read the Brewer news. I am just guessing Boston as the team that ends up getting him because they wanted him before and he would likely get more minutes.

    I've been of fan of his since his Florida Gator days though.