Mayo Needs To Find His Stroke

The Dallas Mavericks are still in the midst of a playoff push in the Western Conference. They are three-games back in the Western Conference playoff race, though they still have a heck of a lot of teams to catch to reach their goals. Dallas has run off four straight wins, but it is going to need to win a ton of more games in order to get into the postseason.

OJ Mayo is a man that is going to really need to step it up if Dallas is going to keep making for great NBA picks for the rest of the regular season, and hopefully into the postseason.

Mayo has averaged just 13.5 points per game over the course of his last 12 games, and that’s a far cry from the man that put up an average of 22.2 points per game in the first 12 games of the campaign. The Mavericks were 7-5 in those first 12 games, and they are only 23-28 since that point. Needless to say, that’s a big difference, both in terms of Mayo’s production and in the won/loss column.

The other problem that Mayo is having is that he is turning the ball over far too much. The 2.65 turnovers per game isn’t that it is all that awful, but the games in which he isn’t keeping tabs on the rock, Dallas is really struggling. Not surprisingly in this four-game winning streak, Mayo only has turned the ball over a total of three times in those games. He has turned it over at least five times in 13 times over the course of the season. Dallas has only gone 1-12 in those games.

Thornton Finding Niche In Sacramento As Sixth Man

It’s been a rough season for the Sacramento Kings, but it’s looking increasingly like they may have found something in the form of shooting guard Marcus Thornton. A former second round pick out of LSU, Thornton has averaged nearly 20 points over the last 10 games, including a 32-point outburst against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

Thornton has admirably filled the sixth-man role in relief of a Kings’ starting five that boasts high-draft picks like Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, but zero cohesion. Thornton hit 12-of-21 from the field—5-of-11 behind the arc—in his breakout performance against the Nuggets.

The Kings are a dismal 21-42 straight-up this season and have already managed to lose two games this week. Those followed a rare win that came against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday. Fans should note things haven’t been much better for Sacramento versus the number. The Kings are a roll-breaking 27-34-2 against the spread this season.

As for Thornton, even head coach Keith Smart sounds excited about the recent production, according to the Sacramento Bee.

“He’s playing good basketball and obviously that’s what I envisioned that’s how he’d play on our team give us a boost with our second unit,” Smart told the paper. “Because he has the ability to score from the perimeter as well as drive and he makes free throws.”

Thornton has played a sizable role since coming to the Kings as a late-round pick in 2009. He averaged 21.3 points a game his sophomore season, though that came in just 27 games, and posted 18.7 points a game while starting all 51 games a season ago. Despite those numbers, the Baton Rouge native has been pegged as the sixth man behind the backcourt of Evans and Isiah Thomas, who was a high first-round pick by the Kings two seasons ago.

Nets Need Blatche To Shine

The Brooklyn Nets are still searching for the lead in the Atlantic Division, but their dream is starting to become a heck of a lot less than a potential reality. They are five back in the loss column of the New York Knicks, and time isn’t on their side with just 21 games left in the season. In fact, Brooklyn has to be careful. The team is currently in the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, but only 3.5 games separate it from the No. 8 seed.

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are nice, but the Nets require some sort of glue to get into the playoffs and make a push when they get there. Andray Blatche is the type of man that can provide that spark for Brooklyn when he is called upon, and if it is going to make for successful NBA picks in the final quarter of the season, Blatche is the man that is really going to have to step it up.

We’ve seen the big man do this before, though. He isn’t quite getting the same type of minutes that he was getting when he was with the Washington Wizards, but his level of effectiveness is still right up there. Blatche’s numbers seem to be pedestrian, as he is averaging just 10.0 points and 5.3 boards per game, but we also have to remember that he is only on the court for 18:45 or so per night on average. 18.865

If you take Blatche’s numbers and plug in the amount of time per game that he played for the Wizards in his best season (33:57 per game in 2010-11), his averages would be even stronger than they were then. Blatche would be good for 17.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and over a block and almost two steals per game.