The Dallas Morning News

Powell finally shows flair for 3-pointers

Third-year big man has improved from outside, and Carlisle wants more

- Twitter: @ESefko

Eddie Sefko: Dwight Powell made minimal gains in his scoring and rebounding this season, but the thirdyear player made strides with his shooting from beyond the arc.

Going strictly by the numbers, it hasn’t been the kind of season Dwight Powell was hoping for or expecting.

What the Mavericks and the 6-11 third-year man wanted was a year of growth, and it has happened in one sense.

But first, a look at those numbers.

He’s played 75 games and has been a healthy scratch five times, not a good sign for a player who is in the first season of a four-year deal worth $37 million.

But he was healthy. And his scoring average has risen from last season — up to 6.6 points per game to go with 4.0 rebounds a night.

Those are marginal upgrades from last season.

What has bumped up markedly is his 3-point shooting, which is what Rick Carlisle wanted to talk most about after Powell had a career-best 21 points Sunday at Phoenix.

Powell totaled just five 3pointers in his first two seasons in the league.

After making four of eight on Sunday, he’s now 17 for 58 this season. That’s not going to win many shooting games against Dirk Nowitzki or Wesley Mattthews, but it’s a 29.3 percent success rate, and for a 6-11 forward/center, it’s a step in the right direction.

The way the NBA is these days, big men have to be able to stretch their game away from the basket. Powell is learning that, with Carlisle in his ear a lot about not being shy when it comes to heaving 3-pointers.

During the second half of the game at Phoenix, Powell hesitated on a 3-pointer, then faked and drove to the paint.

“Shoot it!” Carlisle yelled from the sideline.

Then, to drive home his point, he leaned in to where radio voice Chuck Cooperstei­n was calling the game and yelled close to Coop’s microphone: “Shoot it!”

Since late December, Powell has played 10 games in which he’s logged 20 minutes or more. In those games, he’s averaged 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds.

His opportunit­ies for extended time have been limited because of Dirk Nowitzki’s long run of good health, which began in late December.

But late in the season, Powell has shown he’s capable of playing a significan­t role.

“Powell continues to do well with his 3-point shooting, which is a really encouragin­g sign,” Carlisle said. “These young guys are getting experience. They’re getting their brains beat in, but this is how you learn.

“The thing that’s really good to see is he’s developing a rhythm outside the 3-point line. He’s building a process and it’s dependable. He’s shooting the ball very consistent­ly the last few games, so that’s great to see.”

Briefly: All of the Mavericks’ key players are expected to play Tuesday night against Denver, except for guard Seth Curry, who has been shut down for the final two games. Nowitzki, Matthews, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes likely will play limited minutes. … After the game, the Mavericks will leave for Memphis, where the regular season ends Wednesday night. Some of the starters may be left behind since Carlisle has said he would not play them on both ends of back-to-back games as the season winds down.

 ?? Jae S. Lee/Staff Photograph­er ?? Dwight Powell is 17 for 58 from 3-point range this season after making only five 3-pointers over his first two seasons in the NBA. Powell went 4 of 8 on 3-pointers and scored a career-high 21 points Sunday against Phoenix.
Jae S. Lee/Staff Photograph­er Dwight Powell is 17 for 58 from 3-point range this season after making only five 3-pointers over his first two seasons in the NBA. Powell went 4 of 8 on 3-pointers and scored a career-high 21 points Sunday against Phoenix.
 ?? EDDIE SEFKO esefko@dallasnews.com ??
EDDIE SEFKO esefko@dallasnews.com

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