Report: Mavericks closing deal to sign top star to solve offensive dry spells

The potential solution to the Mavericks’ offensive dry spells during the playoffs is evident.
The Dallas Mavericks entered Game 4 of their second-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a lot of momentum, as Dallas’ physicality and shot-making in the first quarter enabled them go out to an early lead that they maintained until the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, their offense disintegrated late in the game, and they struggled to make free throws, with Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic failing to create enough decent chances down the line.
Dallas’ offense also appeared stagnant at times during the second half, as the Thunder were incredibly timely in trapping and hedging on Mavericks pick-and-rolls.


P.J. Washington finished Game 4 with his third straight 20-point playoff performance, but he primarily aided Dallas’ offense with five catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, as Thunder big man Chet Holmgren severely limited his dribble-drive and post-up ability.

Dante Exum is the solution to the Mavericks’ offensive dry periods in the playoffs.

Perhaps the Mavericks should have relied on him more in the end. Exum scored five points on 2-4 shooting but only played five minutes in the game, as he has been reduced to a supporting role in these playoffs due to his offensive troubles against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.

Exum played only five minutes early in the game, but he added pace and pacing to Dallas’ offense, converting on a transition 3-pointer and scoring off the dribble in a one-on-one situation.

Exum helped the Mavericks maintain some of their momentum in the first quarter, when it appeared that the Thunder were poised to go on a run to seize the lead, and he played strong individual defense against Jalen Williams and Shai Gilgeous–Alexander.
Exum has definitely not been up to par with how he did throughout the regular season since the playoffs started, but perhaps this can be attributed to him feeling mentally rattled after not playing in an NBA Playoff scenario.

Given how poorly Exum has shot in the playoffs up until Game 4 of this series, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is unlikely to give Exum an increased opportunity in these playoffs; however, in a faster-paced series, Exum’s quick decision making and ability to attack one-on-one could accelerate the Mavericks offense in situations where it tends to dry up.

Only time will tell if P.J. Washington, Kyrie Irving, and Luka Doncic can supplement enough individual offense for the Mavericks to win this series against the Thunder, which is now tied at 2-2, but if Dallas is looking for some ancillary offensive options, Dante Exum should see more playing time.

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