Good perimeter defense or just bad shooting?

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
11:38
AM CT
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Dallas Mavericks have won four consecutive road games and in two they've witnessed historically poor 3-point shooting from their opponent.

In Game 2 in Los Angeles, the Lakers missed their first 15 3-point shots until Kobe Bryant finally got one down with 2:43 left in the Mavs' 93-81 victory. L.A. finished 2-of-20 for the game, a dismal 10 percent. Dallas was just 8-of-25 from 3, but that's an 18-point difference.

Saturday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were even worse. They missed their first 16 3-point attempts and didn't get one to go until Russell Westbrook's shot with 35.1 seconds left. Down just six points with 2:54 to go, Westbrook, Daequan Cook and James Harden each badly missed consecutive 3-point attempts to take the Thunder to 0-for-16. OKC finished 1-of-17 (5.9 percent) from behind the arc. The Mavs, 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) -- again not great -- again enjoyed an 18-point bulge there.

Surprisingly, the Thunder's streak of 16 in a row was not the longest drought of the playoffs. The Orlando Magic missed 18 consecutive 3-point attempts in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks.

"I'm not sure I've ever seen that, but we'll take it," Mavs center Brendan Haywood said of the two 3-point stinkers.

Of course, Haywood was just a touch critical of the team's perimeter defense during Game 2 when he was posterized by Kevin Durant after Durant blew by Peja Stojakovic and finished with an all-time dunk over the 7-foot center.

Credit the Mavs' perimeter defense in those two rare games, but also chalk up just awful shooting. Neither team is particularly good from deep. The Lakers finished the regular season ranked 18th in the league in 3-point percentage (35.2) and Oklahoma City was 19th (34.7). However, Carlisle credited Haywood and Tyson Chandlerfor Tyson Chandler for their efforts to help on the perimeter.

"In Game 3 they really hard to work because we’re asking them to scramble on the perimeter to help with the perimeter guys and then get back in and rebound and bang with their bigs," Carlisle said. "Their mode of operation is much different in this series than it was in the previous two."

The Thunder's misfirings put them in the NBA's playoff futility record book. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, OKC tied the 2003 Phoenix Suns for the second-worst percentage in a playoff game over the last 20 years.

Who's No. 1?

The 2005 Mavs, who missed 17-of-18 (5.6 percent) in a 119-102 Game 3 second-round loss to Phoenix.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9