Kristaps Porzingis is frustrated.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the host Oklahoma City Thunder, Porzingis’ Dallas Mavericks have lost nine of their past 12.
In addition, star guard Luka Doncic (ankle) has been ruled out of the contest.
“It (stinks) right now to be us because we’re fighting, we’re playing hard, we’re trying to do things right, but we still commit mistakes out there,” Porzingis said. “On top of that, we’re shooting catastrophic, so it’s hard to win like that.”
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said the solution is simple.
“We can’t shoot straight from behind the 3-point line,” he said. “That’s a broken record. We keep saying this for the last 25 games, except one game we shot 70 percent. We have to be better. We have to take responsibility at some point that we have to make shots. We’re doing everything by getting the ball in the paint and making the extra passes; it’s just that we’re not making shots.”
The Mavericks have scored 100 or more points just once in their past five games.
As Kidd said, though, Dallas’ shooting woes haven’t been confined to its recent slump.
The Mavericks actually are shooting better from the floor (44.5 percent to 44.1 percent), from behind the 3-point line (36.4 percent to 33.3 percent) and even from the free-throw line (76.1 percent to 71.5 percent) in their past 12 games than they did in the first 13.
In Friday’s 106-93 loss at Indiana, the Mavericks shot a season-worst 13.8 percent (4 of 29) from beyond the arc, including a combined 2-of-17 from Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Though the Thunder have won two of their past three, they’ve lost 11 of their past 14 overall.
Oklahoma City is coming off a 116-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday in the opener of a four-game homestand.
One of the bright spots of that loss was Thunder rookie Tre Mann, who had a season-high 19 points and has scored in double figures in four of his past six games.
Mann’s growth in other areas has expanded his opportunities to showcase his skills offensively.
“He’s competing on a consistent enough level that it gives you confidence having him in the game,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “He’s not going to out-muscle people at this point in his career, but when he’s scrappy and he’s competing like that, it gives you confidence to have him out there. Then offensively, he’s been getting these looks and playing in this way for a little while now. So it was just a matter of time before the ball started going in.”
Since returning from a stint in the G League, Mann has gone from being on the periphery of the rotation to a central piece, averaging more than 23 minutes a game over the past seven contests.
“He’s really smoothed out his style of play, which takes time for a player like him to figure out how to inject their talent in a way that blends in with the team,” Daigneault said after Friday’s game. “And he’s done that before tonight, where he made more shots.”
Sunday’s game will be the first of four meetings between the Mavericks and Thunder this season.
–Field Level Media