Southwest Notes: Kidd, Doncic, Valanciunas, Bane, Murray

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd believes Luka Doncic would benefit from focusing less on the officiating, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. Doncic frequently holds discussions with the referees, taking his attention away from other on-court matters.

“I would lean toward playing 5-on-5 a bit more,” Kidd explained. “You’re not going to get any calls. Officials, they tend to not stop the game to change calls. You have to understand there’s a point in time in games — dead balls — to be able to talk to officials.

“While the game is going on, transition defense is one of the things we’ve talked about that we have to get better. If we’re lobbying for calls during live play, it puts us in harm’s way. … Just some things have got to be a little bit more important. I think we’re going to get better at understanding as a team when to talk to officials. Not just Luka.”

As MacMahon notes, Doncic agreed with his coach’s advice. The Mavericks are just 11-11 and have lost seven of their last nine games.

There’s more from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Christian Clark of examines why Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has worked to expand his range. Valanciunas has made 30 of his 65 three-point attempts (46%) this season, good for one of the league’s best clips. The most threes he has ever made in a season is 32 (in 2019/20). “The big guy is evolving by being able to stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Valanciunas said. “Being able to handle the ball. Those things, I wanted to add to my game as well. I don’t want to disappear. I want to be successful in this league. Whatever it takes to be successful.”
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane recorded 29 points and nine rebounds to help defeat the Mavericks on Saturday. After the contest, Bane reflected on the Mavericks passing over him in the 2020 draft, as relayed by Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “I mean, Josh Green was drafted in front of me,” Bane said. “I don’t know if he played tonight, but that’s on them. That’s not on me.”
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray is taking a leap with the franchise this season, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News writes. Murray is averaging a career-high 19.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game, shooting 45% from the floor.
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