Despite the fact that Dirk Nowitzki is historically sure with the ball -- few NBA players with such large offensive responsibility commit so few miscues -- the Dallas Mavericks had turnover problems this season. Dallas ranked No. 21 in turnover rate in the regular season; combined with poor offensive rebounding figures, that factor dampened the Mavericks' No. 3 shooting clip to create a good but sub-elite offense.
But in the first two games of the Mavs' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas had largely avoided the issue. It cropped up in Game 3 on Thursday, though, with the Mavericks committing 16 turnovers in an 85-possession game. Jason Kidd committed five of those, and the only Mavericks who played and didn't commit at least one was Jose Barea.
Kidd's play was at times puzzling; perhaps overconfident in his ability to break down Andre Miller and the Blazers' defense based on two stellar performances in Dallas, the veteran looked sloppy and impatient. When you play with halfcourt players as good as Nowitzki and Jason Terry, there's no need for repeatedly rash decisions.
Dallas now has one game in this series with a very low turnover tally (six in Game 2), one with an average number (13 in Game 1) and one with a high number (16 in Game 3). Can Portland continue to force mistakes, or take advantage of sloppy play? Based on the results in the first three games, the Blazers' hopes to win the series may depend on it.