Thursday, April 1, 2010
Dallas has NBA's best duo down the stretch
By Tim MacMahon
The highest fourth quarter and overtime scoring averages by a pair of teammates this season in games decided by 5 points or fewer.
Critics of the Mavs’ point to margin of victory as evidence that this team isn’t as good as its record indicates.
Surely, there must be a lot of luck involved for a team that is 18-5 in games decided by five or fewer points. Never mind that the Mavs had an almost identical record in such games last season.
Perhaps the Mavs’ success in close contests also has something to do with the fact that they have the most productive pair of fourth-quarter scorers in the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined to average 12.8 points per fourth quarter/overtime entering Wednesday, according to numbers crunched by ESPN Research. That figure is a notch higher after Dirk dropped 19 by himself as the Mavs rallied from a double-digit deficit down the stretch in Memphis.
All those pairs play for playoff teams on pace to win at least 50 games. And the Thunder (12-12), a baby-faced bunch, is the only team among the five who doesn’t have a winning record in games decided by five or fewer points.
The hunch here is that the Mavs will continue to rack up wins in tight games as long as they have a duo that fills it up in the fourth quarter as well as any other in the NBA. They are indeed lucky to have two proven, premier clutch scorers.