When the Philadelphia 76ers inked veteran forward Georges Niang to a deal over the past offseason, they brought him on for a particular reason. As a 40-percent shooter from beyond the arc in his first five seasons, the Sixers simply needed Niang to come to Philadelphia a drain threes off the bench.
This season, Niang's been shooting slightly below his average. Although he's cranked up the attempts as he's putting up a career-high of five threes-per-game, Niang has knocked down 39-percent of his 337 threes.
Like all shooters, Niang sees his fair share of tough stretches. And lately, the veteran forward entered a mini-slump as shots were just simply not falling over the course of a few games.
On Monday night, when the Sixers faced off against the Denver Nuggets, Niang hurt Philly's bench as he drained just two of his 12 shot attempts. After going 20-percent from three, Niang's struggles contributed to the Sixers' four-point loss.
Looking to bounce back two nights later, Niang struggled once again when the Sixers took on the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. In 18 minutes of action, Niang took just five shots, with four of them coming from deep.
Just one of those attempts were successful. While the Sixers came out on top of the Cavaliers in Wednesday night's win, Niang struggled to contribute to the team's success as he scored just three points in nearly 20 minutes.
Despite the recent struggles, the Sixers were never going to shy away from Niang. Not only has he been a bright spot off Philly's bench, but Doc Rivers understands that veteran shooters always tend to bounce back as they shoot through their struggles.
On Friday night, that was the case for Niang. As the Sixers faced the Dallas Mavericks for the second and final time this regular season, Niang was far from gun shy. In 27 minutes on the floor, the veteran forward put up seven shots from beyond the arc.
After draining just 37-percent of his threes in the last five games, Niang knocked down nearly 60-percent of his threes on Friday night. Thanks to his contributions off the bench, Niang helped the Sixers rally past the Mavericks for a second-straight win.
"It felt good," said Niang. "Obviously, it feels good when shots go in. I work extremely hard at what I do, and, obviously, I was frustrated the last two games not to make shots I usually make. So, tonight to see those go in is something that I enjoyed, and I'm just happy that we got the win against a really good Dallas team."
Niang wrapped up Friday's game with 12 points off the bench. He led the bench in scoring and even surpassed two starters with his scoring total. One good game won't solve all of Philadelphia's bench problems moving forward, but it seems the veteran forward is quickly gaining more confidence as he breaks free from his mini-slump.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.