The Dallas Mavericks are on an incredible run. They’re 20-3 since Jan. 22, and all three losses — at Denver on Dec. 10, vs. Memphis on March 6, and at New Orleans on March 9 — have been by a single point.
Before the run, the Mavs were two games in the loss column behind the Lakers. Now, they’re two games ahead of L.A. So essentially, it’s a run that could determine home-court advantage in the conference semifinals.
When the Mavs started the season 24-5, their success was very much about an improved defense that ranked seventh in the league, allowing just 100.0 points per 100 possessions. But the Mavs have since fallen to 12th in the league defensively, and this 20-3 run has been all about offense.
|Games||W-L||Pace||Off. Eff.||Def. Eff.||Diff.|
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions
As you can see, the Mavs’ defense has actually been worse on this 23-game run than it was through the first 42 games. But the offense has been so efficient that the defensive slippage hasn’t mattered.
The interesting thing about the Mavs’ increased offense is that, despite the faster pace, Dirk Nowitzki is scoring less than he was earlier in the season. Through the first 42 games, Nowitzki averaged 23.4 points per game, but he’s averaging just 22.5 over the last 23.
Instead, the Mavs are getting more from Jason Terry (15.4 ppg first 42, 18.1 in last 23) and Tyson Chandler (9.1 ppg, 13.1 ppg), as well as contributions from Peja Stojakovic and Roddy Beaubois.