MILWAUKEE – The thinking behind giving Reggie Bullock a rest on Sunday night was twofold, coach Jason Kidd said.
The physical part of it was a consideration, of course. Bullock had played in all of the first 18 games this season.
But Kidd said he also sensed that Bullock needed a mind-clearing moment, some time to reboot, if you will.
“I think all shooters in an 82-game season go through a stretch where things just don’t look right,” Kidd said. “It’s a great opportunity for him to rest, come back and get some work in and then get ready for Golden State.”
And a baseball analogy worked just fine for Kidd when assessing where Bullock is when it comes to shooting. He’s made just 20.8 percent of his three pointers in the last 12 games.
“It’s like a pitcher,” Kidd said. “You give up a home run? The best thing you can do is ask for the umpire or the catcher to throw you the ball while the guy’s running the bases because you got to get ready for the next batter. You can’t do anything (about the home run). That ball’s over the fence.
“So the shot he takes, if he misses, he’s got to be ready because we know Luka (Dončić) is going to find him. And that’s not just for Reggie, that’s for all our shooters. We’re not shooting the ball straight and that’s just the way it is.”
The Mavericks aren’t panicking, Kidd said. He wants everybody to continue shooting the three-pointers that they’re getting because they’re good looks.
Sooner or later, when the shooting eyes get recalibrated, the results will improve.
Remember when: In three-plus seasons with the Mavericks, Wesley Matthews averaged a shade under 13 points per game and shot 37 percent from 3-point range.
Fans loved to point out Matthews’ flaws, but the fact was that he was a quality starter in the backcourt for the Mavericks during some tough seasons.
Now, he’s in the autumn of his career, but he’s still a solid player off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks.
On Sunday, he saw some time against Dončić and was his usual pester-ish self on defense.
“For us, he takes on the other team’s best wing, the other team’s best player lots of times, like with Dončić,” Bucks’ coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You talk about making somebody earn something, that kind of defines Wes on the defensive end of the court.
“Incredibly smart, incredibly locked in to the details on the defensive end. And he’s a smart, tough veteran that I don’t think anybody likes to see across from them, which is the same as it’s always been.”
No stopwatch needed: Giannis Antetokounmpo has always been a slow free-throw shooter, which tends to stall the game because he goes to the line a lot.
In one recent game, reports had him taking 17 seconds between getting the ball and releasing his free throw. NBA rules state that 10 seconds is the maximum amount of time allowed to execute a free throw.
Kidd said the Mavericks weren’t concerned about it.
“No, they’re not going to call 10 seconds,” Kidd said. “They don’t call travels so . . . it’s the NBA. We don’t need to bring any attention to the 10 seconds. This is a regular season game. We’re here to play, find a way to win and then get back to Dallas.”
One way to avoid the issue is not to send Antetokounmpo to the line, which the Mavericks did a good job of. He only shot two in the first half and held the ball for 15.38 seconds before shooting his second one.