3 keys for Milwaukee Bucks in interesting matchup vs Dallas Mavericks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 15: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 15: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina
Dec 23, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks will be tested against the Dallas Mavericks’ defense

The biggest reason for the Mavericks’ midseason turnaround was that they ratcheted up the intensity on the defensive end. Since December 31st, the Mavs have had the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA at 109.2. For reference, the Bucks are 20th at 114.3, though there are many factors for that.

They’re just outside of the top ten in frequency of shots allowed at the rim and just outside of the top five in frequency of 3-point attempts allowed, per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required).

However, since the All-Star break (and thus, since trading away Kristaps Porzingis), the Mavs’ defense has slipped. They’re 15th in defensive rating at 115.1 (Bucks are 25th at 116.4, but were 13th at 114.1 before the last game) and some of that is likely due to trading away Porzingis.

Since Porzingis’ last game with the Mavs, opponents have shot nearly 68 percent at the rim against them (two percent above league average) according to Cleaning the Glass.

Opponents are still shooting very poorly from basically every other area on the court and especially so on long midrange shots, which is what they allow a lot of.

Now they don’t really have someone who can bother Giannis Antetokounmpo all that much, so all that stuff about not allowing shots at the rim won’t matter a whole lot. He didn’t play against them this season under Jason Kidd, but last year scored 31 points on 61 percent true shooting in his only game against Dallas.

Still, the Mavs have good defensive principles and don’t allow the right shots to their opponents. Antetokounmpo can tear up a defensive gameplan very quickly though.

Next. The pros and cons of the Milwaukee Bucks starting Wesley Matthews. dark

We’ll get to see two of the league’s best players go at it tonight and that’s a beautiful thing this late in the season.