DALLAS -- This edition of the Dallas Mavericks has never played better offensive basketball than it has on this homestand.
Maybe the home cooking has helped after the Mavs racked up hotel rewards points during a hectic schedule before the All-Star break. Some lottery-bound competition certainly hasn’t hurt. And a bit of tweaking has solved spacing issues.
The results have been remarkable: Dallas’ four-highest scoring games of the season have come in the wins during this 4-1 homestand, which wraps up Thursday against the Sacramento Kings, who just happen to allow the most points in the league.
The Mavs shot 55.8 percent from the floor, a season high, and knocked down 9 of 19 3-point attempts. They dished out 27 assists, which has been their average during the homestand. And they had five players score at least 17 points, led by Wesley Matthews’ 21 on 8-of-12 shooting.
“We just have to keep cultivating the team chemistry and the togetherness,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We are just the kind of team that needs to play that way.”
It certainly helps that Dallas has leaders who have no issue checking their ego at the door. Case in point: Zaza Pachulia, who had no complaints about sitting on the bench and watching a small-ball lineup pull off a comeback from a 23-point deficit on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets and uses his thumbs to point out the origin of the Mavs’ previous spacing problems.
“Mainly, it was me,” Pachulia said after his 17-point, 10-rebound performance against the Magic. “I was causing problems.”
Carlisle showed Pachulia film of times he was clogging up the flow of the Mavs’ offense. They made adjustments to get Pachulia lower in some sets and keep him out of the space Dallas’ playmakers needed to work.
The Mavs, who had lost six of eight games entering the homestand, suddenly resemble the kind of aesthetically pleasing offensive team fans have become accustomed to seeing during Carlisle’s tenure. They’ve averaged 125 points during their past four wins, shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point range.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can score a lot of points on any given night,” said Chandler Parsons, who on Tuesday scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, which actually qualifies as an off night for him recently. “We play very unselfish and just try and get the best shot available. We have a lot of weapons and a very versatile lineup, and we have to utilize that.”
As Matthews added, “We’re doing what we’re supposed to do. We’ve responded. We’ve got to continue to ride this and continue to get our swagger, find our groove, continue to gain confidence and put teams away.”
It has certainly helped matters that Matthews has busted out of a six-week slump. He has put up 17.8 points per game during the homestand, hitting 51.7 percent from the floor and 45.7 percent from 3-point range.
Matthews discovered a technical issue during a late-night shooting session before the homestand started, realizing that his elbow was getting out of line. The Mavs have also made it a priority to get Matthews the ball on the block, letting him bully opposing shooting guards, which he did over and over again on Tuesday against some poor dude named Devyn Marble.
“He’s got a little pep in his step,” Dirk Nowitzki (19 points, 7-of-13 from the floor) said of Matthews.
“He’s got his confidence back, and he’s been fun to watch.”
That also sums up the Mavs as a whole on this homestand.