Disappearing double-digit leads and scorching performances from beyond the arc were on display in the nail-biting end to the game between the Mavericks and Cavaliers.

There was a time when a 10-point lead late in a game felt somewhat safe in the NBA. Such an advantage was once something that gave a team confidence heading into the clutch moments of a game. Those days are long gone.

The latest example of the fundamental change in the way the NBA plays basketball was the second and final regular season contest between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. After falling behind by as much as 15 points earlier in the game, the Mavericks managed to complete a rally and take a 108-98 lead with just 4:38 left on the game clock.

Their jubilance at taking that advantage turned into sorrow not long after, though, as they saw that advantage flipped into a 115-113 deficit 15-5 run over the next 1:46, which set up a memorable and exciting finale to the game.


As fun as it was, though, it also made me lament just how crazy the scoring has become in the NBA. Sure, some people will say that no defense is played anymore, but it’s not just that. Everyone’s just become so damn good at shooting the ball that defensive rotations are so much more difficult to complete. 

We’re not in the olden days where one or two players on a roster were deadeye shooters. Now, any team worth its salt often fields four or even five elite shooters on the floor during crunch time. It was much easier to hound a singular shooter in the old days, it’s much more difficult when you have to guard EVERYONE on the perimeter.

That’s also the reason why there are so many blowout victories this season. With so many high-powered offenses around, it can often simply come down to who makes more threes. When teams are shooting anywhere from 35-50 attempts per game, if one of them gets really hot early on, then it becomes hard to crawl out of the hole, especially since the team that’s fallen behind will often try to force long-rage attempts to try to get back into it.

While I still enjoy the NBA and appreciate the athletes and their skill level, it’s starting to feel a little bit boring as well. I’m hoping the game still slows down in the playoffs, so that we can get a little bit more hard-nosed basketball in. 

I’ve got to say, though, for what it’s worth, I’m tickled by the fact that a role-player like Max Strus can make five three-pointers in the final 3:42 of the game, including the game-winning heave. I sure as hell didn’t have that in my bingo card today.

No one is going to remember that Luka Doncic had 45 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists, or that Kyrie Irving scored 30 points. Hell, no one’s going to remember Donovan Mitchell’s 31 points, seven boards and six dimes either. Everyone’s going to remember that Strus lost his goddamn mind and passed an insane heat check to close out the game.