PHOENIX – One reason the Dallas Mavericks have gotten off to such a good start this season is because they’re among the NBA leaders in field goal shooting.
Entering Friday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena, the Mavs were eighth in the league in field goal shooting at a healthy 46.6 percent. A number of that caliber bodes well for a team with playoff aspirations.
“I think we’re just getting good shots and moving the ball, and obviously guys are just making shots,” forward Justin Jackson said. “We seem to be able to move the ball really well.
“When you’re getting good shots, most of the time guys are able to finish those pretty easy.”
It’s no secret that the primary reason the Mavs are getting good shots is because point guard Luka Doncic is one of the best table setters in the entire NBA. When Doncic isn’t using his superior passing skills to force a double team – thus creating an opportunity for one his teammates to be wide open – he’s flinging the ball clear across the court to an open teammate.
“He contributes in a lot of different ways,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Doncic. “Obviously when he attacks the paint he finishes at a high rate.
“Also, when he gets in there (in the paint) he’s able to draw defenders and set other guys up for open shots, which always is going to help your stats from a shooting percentage standpoint. There’s a lot of reasons you shoot it well, but having a great player that can do those kinds of things really makes a big difference.”
PORZINGIS AT CENTER: Officially, Kristaps Porzingis is the Mavs’ starting power forward. But in certain situations they’ve also played the 7-3, 240-pounder at the center position.
And when that happens, coach Rick Carlisle said: “We become smaller at the rest of the positions in most cases. It’s just a different look. It allows us to stretch the floor out and probably create more space.”
Playing the center spot, of course, is not unusual for Porzingis.
“Here in Dallas almost every game when I play on defense I play the (center position),” Porzingis said. “On offense I open the court. On the defensive end I’m used to it. It’s nothing new.”
Carlisle isn’t against using Porzingis at the center spot in certain situations.
“We played that lineup some,” he said. “We certainly will play it more as the season goes along.
“I don’t know exactly when or where, but it’s something we have in the toolbox if we feel we need to go to it.”
DONCIC MAKES HISTORY: With an assist in the second quarter, point guard Luka Doncic went into the history books where very few have gone.
The assist means Doncic has averaged a 30-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in the month of November. The only other players to average a 30-10-10 triple-double for a month in NBA history are Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.
Robertson achieved the feat five times and Westbrook did it twice.
“He just continues to get better game-by-game, week-by-week, month-by-month,” Coach Rick Carlisle said. “This year he’s obviously stepped up to a higher level.”