Tim Hardaway Jr.’s historic night from behind the 3-point line illuminated a few things. However, the most telling was that the Dallas Mavericks need more of his offense late in the season.
In Hardaway Jr.’s last two starts, he’s scored 78 total points. That huge point tally came by way of a 42-point performance against the Detroit Pistons and then a 36-point showing against the Miami Heat.
In between those two outings, he scored 16 points against the Washington Wizards before resting in Dallas’ only loss in the previous five games.
“I just want to put on a show,” Hardaway Jr. said after his 36-point performance against Miami.
Hardaway Jr.’s recent success:
In the Mavericks’ four wins out of the last five games, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 26.8 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 52 percent from three. And on the year, Dallas is 9-5 when he scores at least 20 points, good enough for a 64 percent win percentage. Dallas’ win percentage in total currently sits at 56 percent.
It’s without question that the Mavericks are a better team when Hardaway Jr. is scoring well at all levels. He combines flair with a silky smooth outside touch that -when on- rivals some of the best shooters in the league.
His 42-point performance in Detroit came via six made three-pointers, and 13 made field goals on 23 shot attempts. And after the game, his performance prompted Rick Carlisle to say, “He’s just not going to let us lose.”
That is Hardaway Jr. in a nutshell. Everywhere he goes, and whoever he plays for, what’s never in question is his effort. That was the story at Michigan. It was the story in New York and Atlanta. Now in Dallas, it’s more of the same.
Ride the hot hand:
As a streaky shooter, Hardaway Jr. may go through intense slumps. Before this recent offensive hot streak, starting in Detroit, Hardaway Jr. was averaging 10.9 points per game on 27.7 percent from three in April. However, he seems to always end any lengthy cold streak with an offensive boom. That is who he’s always been as a perimeter-oriented player. When you live by the three, there is always the risk to die by it. But right now, Hardaway Jr. is living. And the Mavericks need to ride his hot hand as the seeding race continues to heat up between Portland, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
And the good news is for a guy like Hardaway Jr. when he’s hot, he’s hot.
“When you have been hot like that, had it going, you’re not really focused on any records or anything like that,” Hardaway said. “The game was just coming to me.”
And the ball needs to continue to come to Hardaway Jr. as well because his offense, of late, has provided nothing but an instant spark for a Mavericks team desperate for wins down the stretch.
Feature image via Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.