The Dallas Mavericks had a perfect opportunity on Tuesday night in their game against the Los Angeles Lakers to put themselves in prime position to get into the NBA Playoffs. The Mavericks, however, squandered that opportunity by falling to the Lakers in that game. That loss seemed like what Dallas has done all season.
For most of the year, particularly since Dirk Nowitzki returned to the lineup, the Mavericks have seemed like they would have their problems solved, but then would stumble when it really mattered. That’s why they are still on the outside looking in of the playoffs as of right now.
Over this last stretch of games, though, the play of O.J. Mayo has been a huge factor in why they haven’t been able to seize opportunities.
At the start of the season when Nowitzki was still recovering from injuries he sustained in October, Mayo was almost single-handedly carrying the Mavericks. They were still a team with a losing record, but they were competitive in most of the games that they were in and that was due to Mayo.
However, he has been incredibly ineffective over the last 10 games. In 36.1 minutes per game, Mayo has averaged just 9.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. In addition, he has also been turning the ball over an average of 2.1 times per game, and has shot only 40.8 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three.
When he is playing like this, he bears almost no resemblance to the player that was leading this team earlier in the year.
As the Mavericks still have a chance to sneak into the playoffs, Mayo has to recapture whatever it is he has lost over the past month or so. Nowitzki has finally returned to playing like a star lately, but Mayo has started looking more like a scrub than a star. If Dallas wants to be a playoff team, they have to get Mayo out of this funk.