Nowitzki, Mavericks 'post' win streak

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Dirk Nowitzki's improved play in the post has helped the Mavericks to a four-game win streak.The Dallas Mavericks are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, but they’re riding a four-game winning streak into tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (ESPN, 9:30 ET).

Dallas Mavericks This Season

During the win streak, they’ve slowed down their pace just a bit and increased their offensive efficiency, to a level that’s better than the Thunder’s league-leading efficiency this season.

They’ve also improved their defensive efficiency by more than five points per 100 possessions -- they were 25th in the league before the win streak and are sixth during it.

A lot of the Mavericks’ offensive woes were due to struggles in their half-court offense. They’ve increased their half-court scoring from 0.85 points per play before the streak to 0.95 in the past four games -- that would rank fifth in the NBA this season.

Dirk Nowitzki’s impact

Dirk Nowitzki has played only 13 games this season but the Mavs have been rolling as he’s looked more like himself. He’s averaging 33.5 minutes per game in his past four, up from 26.6 in his first nine games, and has cut his turnovers per game by more than half.

Mavericks Past 13 Games
With Dirk Nowitzki On Court

During their four-game win streak, the Mavericks have made an astonishing 32-point improvement per 100 possessions with Nowitzki on the court, with similar improvements on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Dirk’s improvement in his post play has been the catalyst for both him and the team. He’s shooting 50 percent and averaging more than a point per play in the post during the streak, up from 36 percent and 0.75 in his first nine games.

Stat to Watch

Of the Mavericks' 40 games this season, the score has been within three points in the final 30 seconds 23 of them -- they are 7-16 in those games.

That includes the first meeting between these teams this season, in Nowitzki’s second game back. The Mavericks got a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer from Darren Collison to send it into overtime, but Russell Westbrook scored eight points in the extra session, outscoring Dallas by himself to give the Thunder a six-point win.