The Mavs continued an ongoing trend in this game of generating a ton of open jumpers. Through three quarters the team created more open Js (22) than contested shots (21). Open shots are obviously the most desirable outcome every possession but it’s very difficult to generate that high a volume of them. The Mavericks have been doing a much better job of using a combination of rim attacks and sharp ball movement to create open looks from the outside, particularly since the David Lee signing. That’s paid dividends offensively.
Here’s the math for the “Hack-A” strategy. The Pistons average about 1.02 points per possession this season, according to NBA.com. Fouling a player like Andre Drummond, who’s hitting 35.4 percent of his free throws, is a huge mathematical win in theory. Even if he makes one free throw, the Pistons score one point that possession, a below-average performance. But a player who makes 35 percent of his free throws is, over the course of a game, going to give you 0.7 points per possession at the line if he shoots to his average, which is far below average. I know from an aesthetic standpoint Hack-A might not be the most exciting to watch, but it helps teams get stops.
Dirk Nowitzki scored at least 21 points for the third consecutive game, his first time achieving such a streak since April 2014, according to Basketball-Reference.
The Mavs (33-32) play the Indiana Pacers (34-30) Saturday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. Central.