Is offensive surge a trend or passing fad?

March, 18, 2012
3/18/12
3:00
PM CT
DALLAS -- The offensive fireworks started Saturday night on the first possession with a soaring Rodrigue Beaubois grabbing an alley-oop lob from Jason Kidd with two hands high above the rim and slamming it down to the roar of the sellout crowd.

It included 27 points and a couple of big-bang, second-half 3-pointers from Dirk Nowitzki that provoked the big guy to stick out his tongue and bark as he headed back down the floor.

Highlights included Kidd canning four of his own 3-pointers in his most efficient offensive performance of the season and his first double-double as well. The high-intensity show ended with Jason Terry nailing two 3-pointers in the final 2:46 with the grand finale splashing down with 41.9 seconds to lock up the 106-99 victory the division-leading Spurs.

Dallas, now 26-20 with 20 games left, produced one of its best shooting games beyond the arc, finishing 11-of-24, while shooting 46.8 percent overall, a positive performance for a club that has been stuck at about 43 percent all season to rank in the bottom 10 of the league. When the Mavs shoot 45 percent or better, they're 14-2.

The 106 points represented the second highest total since Jan. 30 at Phoenix. The highest came two games earlier -- 107 against Washington -- to kick off this 3-0 homestand. In the middle was 101 points against Charlotte. The Mavs had reached 100 points just 10 times in the 41 games prior to the homestand and scored more than 102 points just four times.

Do the last three games signify a long-awaited offensive breakout? It's easy to dismiss the first two totals against NBA bottom-feeders Washington and Charlotte. And as Spurs point guard Tony Parker pointed out, he and this teammates were fatigued from Friday night's playoff atmosphere win at Oklahoma City.

So be it, but from a purely Mavs point of view, the sudden surge in points has to be viewed as a confidence-builder heading into the rugged final two weeks of March.

"I never view our team as lacking confidence,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We just need to play at a certain level and we have to have the right kind of presence on the court. Tonight, there were no lags. We've had lags in other games. Tonight, there couldn't be a lag and there wasn't.''

Well, maybe just one in the 18-point second quarter that only got to 18 thanks to Dirk Nowitzki scoring the final 12 points over the last seven minutes of the quarter. But Dallas responded with a 32-point third quarter and 60 points in the second half.

It's no coincidence that in the past three games in which the Mavs have averaged 104.7 points, Beaubois has stepped up to average 16.3 points, quite a boost for a team that had averaged 92.8 points in the nine games after the All-Star break for a 2-7 record. Only four teams are averaging triple digits in this quirky, shortened season -- San Antonio being one; Dallas not being one -- but just how big is it when the Mavs reach that magic mark?

They're now 13-1 with the lone 100-point loss coming to the Thunder on a Kevin Durant buzzer-beater in the third game of the season.

"We were trying to be aggressive, penetrate, make the extra pass and guys were knocking down shots," Kidd said of Saturday's San Antonio win.

That was apparent with 21 assists on 37 field goals and by 25 free throws taken, seven more than the Spurs with their penetrating guards Parker and Manu Ginobili.

So is this recent offensive surge a trend or just a passing fad?

The Denver Nuggets on Monday night will be the next to find out.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9