Beating the Oklahoma City Thunder should be expected of the Dallas Mavericks.

However, amidst the 103-84 victory, Dallas may have found a recipe for sustainable success down the road.

Yes, Luka Doncic didn’t play. And yes, OKC isn’t a good team. But in the needed win, Dallas focused on the bench, paint touches and generating quality shots off of good passes.

All three factors provide Dallas a blueprint for how it needs to play if it wants to dig itself out of this 13-13 hole through 26 games this season.

Dallas can’t focus on if the 3-point shots are falling or if Luka Doncic can drop 40. Instead, grinding the game out with paint touches, bench production and ball movement will grant the Mavs a fighting chance on most nights, amidst its offensive inconsistencies.

“We can tend to rely on our three too much,” Josh Green said after the game.

Having multiple ways to attack a game is a necessity for any good team. Too often Dallas has gone as the 3-point shot has gone. However, in OKC, Dallas’ approach appeared to change.

Let’s dive into what may become Dallas’ recipe for sustainable success moving forward.

Points in the paint

For what felt like the first time all season, Dallas dominated the painted area on the floor. The Mavs scored 50 points in the paint and grabbed 54 rebounds.

“The ball has to touch the paint,” Jason Kidd said. “When you can attack and score in the paint, it makes the game so much easier.”

Dallas’ size was a problem for Oklahoma City. Without Doncic, the offense established a presence in the post that it just hasn’t had all season. With quality shot opportunities generated close to the basket, Dallas secured multiple second-chance shot attempts. Another rarity for the Mavericks all season.

Of the 54 rebounds gathered Sunday night, 10 were offensive. It wasn’t the only difference between the two teams during the game, but it was a necessary one, as Dallas held OKC to just three offensive rebounds on the night.

When Doncic returns, Dallas still needs to establish its presence in the paint. Playing downhill and through the post will make up for what the team lacks in perimeter shooting.

Bench production

Part of Dallas’ success in the paint also came down to adept bench production – a rarity during the first 26 games.

The Mavericks bench produced 54 points in Sunday’s contest. Moses Brown and Maxi Kleber were the primary contributors, scoring 15 and 16 points. Both point totals are season-highs for each player.

Though it’s hard to come by, quality bench production appears to be Dallas’ solution to its winning woes. When the bench scores 50-plus points, Dallas is 3-0 on the season.

Packaging the bench effort from OKC should be Kidd’s primary concern going forward. They won’t score 50-plus points every night, but if they can provide some offense consistently, the load on Doncic will be significantly lighter.

Everyone gets involved

Despite the shooting concerns, Dallas’ offense managed to tally up 25 assists. The Mavericks made the simple plays.

Dallas didn’t get caught up trying to find the homerun shot. Instead, the offense took what the defense gave it and found success.

“Everyone touched the ball,” Kidd said. “Everyone had energy.”

When Doncic returns, Dallas can’t get caught up in watching him dribble the air out of the ball. The Mavs need to show movement and dexterity within the flow of the offense. That starts with everyone always being involved in the action on the floor.

Looking ahead 

In what has been a disappointing offensive season for Dallas, prioritizing paint touches, bench points and offensive involvement may allow the Mavs to optimize the offense.

It’s not an impressive way to win, but it sure is effective. And in recent games, effectiveness – for the Mavs – is sorely lacking. Now, Dallas has to do it again on Monday when the Charlotte Hornets come to town.

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Feature image via Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports.