Skip to main content

Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. Making NBA History in Mavs’ Win Streak

The Dallas Mavericks are lately receiving historic 3-point shooting production from Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. How long will it last?

It would be an understatement to say the Dallas Mavericks have gotten hot from 3-point range as of late. It's been integral in the team winning four of their last five games after previously being 9-10 on the season. 

While the Mavs did drop a game against the Detroit Pistons without Cade Cunningham in overtime during that span, the wins they achieved have been impressive, including victories over the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets.  

The Mavs are shooting on average 19.0-of-45.6 (41.7 percent) from deep, leading the NBA in made 3-pointers by a substantial margin over their last five games. The Warriors are averaging the second-most made 3s with 16.6 per game. It's been quite the recent surge for Dallas, and it's been led by the duo of Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. 

Doncic and Hardaway have combined to make 53 3-pointers during the Mavs' last five games. They've made as many as or more shots from the perimeter than 12 NBA teams during this span. No teammates have made at least four 3-pointers in the same stretch of five consecutive games in the history of the NBA, per Elias Sports Bureau. 

The Mavs' offense has been extraordinary when Doncic and Hardaway have shared the floor during this scorching-hot period of 3-point shooting. During the 142 minutes they've played alongside each other, Dallas has outscored the opposition by a 52-point margin while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 49.6 percent from 3. 

“I think it’s just great that everyone’s in the locker room smiling,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said after Dallas' 121-100 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday. “Everybody saw the ball go in. We shared the ball, we played the right way, the ball wasn’t sticking. Again, we tried to put guys in a situation to be successful.

“We’re a team that lives or dies by the three, and today we made them. We got a lot of great looks, we knocked them down and there were a lot of rhythm shots. A lot of guys passed up maybe layups or the opportunity to shoot one to get a better one, and I thought we saw that this afternoon. A lot of beautiful basketball of passing up a good shot to get a great shot.”

For Doncic, his shooting has trended upward in a significant way for a slightly longer period than just this five-game sample size. Over his previous eight performances, he is shooting 29-63 (46.0%) on off-the-dribble 3s after shooting 31-111 (27.9%) during his first 15 games. He leads the NBA in off-the-dribble 3-point makes by seven in that eight-game period. 

Hardaway is shooting 54.5 percent on 11.0 attempts per game during this staggeringly-efficient five-game period. He leads the NBA in made 3-pointers per game (6.0) by a 0.6 margin with Doncic (4.6) ranking sixth. Hardaway was shooting quite poorly before this stretch at 29.4 percent on 6.6 attempts per game.

Hardaway's shooting has emerged as being arguably more important than any of Doncic's teammates after the team's decision to move him into the starting lineup. He's often being deployed in situations that make defenses pick their poison, whether being deployed as the back-screener in "Stack" pick-and-roll, a "Ghost' screener, or a double-drag screener. Right now, it's elevated the Mavs' offense in ways they just don't get when Reggie Bullock was starting.

"I think coach said it best — when Luka does the hard part, we got to do our job to make it easier for him, and that's knocking down open shots when he collapses the defense and gets 2 guys on him," Hardaway Jr. said after the Mavs' win over the Knicks. "... Today we did our part."

The impact of Hardaway's shooting peak when paired with Doncic has translated to genuinely explosive results. In the 142 minutes that Doncic and Hardaway have shared the floor over the last five games, Dallas has produced a 132.3 offensive rating and a 17.9 net rating. No other two-man lineup combination in the NBA with at least 100 minutes have produced an offensive rating at or above 130.0. The results have been off-the-charts to say the least.

There are a few questions that get raised when looking at what we've witnessed from Doncic and Hardaway. How long will it last? When the shooting comes back down to Earth, will they still prove successful enough offensively to win at a high level?

Receiving a heavy dose of made step-back 3s from a superstar can be the ultimate floor-raiser for an offense — enabling a greater margin for error. When those shots don't fall consistently, it naturally becomes all the more pivotal for the superstar's teammates to make the most of the open looks that he creates for them.  Can the Mavs overcome their need to live and die by the 3? That remains to be seen. But, for now, they're enjoying the benefits of seeing the ball go through the net at a high rate.

Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Dallas Mavericks? Click Here.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook.