The Rockets head to Dallas on Tuesday night for a very winnable matchup with the 1-1 Mavericks.
The Mavericks were blown out by 26 in their first game against the Hawks and barely snuck by a below average Raptors team for their first win of the season.
Luka Doncic has started the season in a shooting slump like last year. He is averaging 22.5 points per game and is shooting 41.5 percent from the field and an abysmal 23.5 percent from behind the arc.
Kristaps Porzingis’ shooting has been even worse than Luka’s. Porzingis is currently shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three.
Keys to victory:
- Lower the Turnovers:
Through three games, the Rockets are ranked 29th in the NBA for turnovers per game averaging 20.3 whereas the Mavericks rank 3rd with only 12 per outing. Valuing the basketball should always be the top priority and it starts with the Rockets floor general, Kevin Porter Jr.
KPJ has 19 turnovers already this season tying James Harden for the most in the league and Harden has played an extra game. Porter Jr. has shown flashes of offensive excellence, but his true effectiveness will be based around his ability to control the ball.
The last thing you want to do is give Luka Doncic extra shot attempts to work his way out of his early season shooting slump.
2. Controlling Luka’s Playmaking:
Luka Doncic has struggled to find his stroke offensively, but his playmaking hasn’t suffered from this. He is still averaging 9.5 assists per game with the help from his off guards who have been red hot to start the season.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson are a combined 13-of-24 form the beyond the arc this season and have been the only threat from deep for the Mavericks.
Luka is going to beat his defender off the dribble on occasion and it is vital that the help comes from whoever is guarding the big outside of the paint. The Mavericks main lineup features Dwight Powell and Kristaps Porzingis who have shown no ability to consistently make a jump shot so far this season.
Forcing Dwight Powell to make a 16-foot jump shot should be the goal when Luka hits the help and is forced to find a teammate. Covering the lob threat and the off guards on the outside should be the gameplan.
3. Attack the Glass on the Defensive Side of the Ball:
The Mavericks rank 7th in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 11.5 per game with Dorian Finney-Smith being the main force with 4 of them a game.
Finney-Smith does not play much of a role on the offensive side of the ball for the Mavericks giving him the opportunity to make the hustle plays. He finds his spots early in the possession and hunts offensive rebounds.
It is crucial that when he is on the court that a body is placed on Finney-Smith when the shot goes up and extra possessions are limited.