Dallas, Texas — Dorian Finney-Smith knows a thing or two about being an irritant on defense.

He plays hard, and as a result, he’s earned the respect of his teammates. However, recently, he’s even earned the respect of his opponents. After Dallas beat Utah 102-77 in Game 5, Donovan Mitchell — arguably Utah’s best player — gave credit where it was due for Finney-Smith on the defensive end.

“He’s tall, lanky and he’s also strong,” Mitchell said after the game. “Typically, guys give up one of those. But he has all of those and he’s athletic. Not a lot of defenders have the strength, the quickness, the size and the athleticism. He has all of those.”

When Finney-Smith heard of Mitchell’s praise, he kept his response simple. In the NBA playoffs, it’s always all business.

“I appreciate it, but we’ve got one more,” he said. “Hopefully, he can keep struggling.”

Through five games, Finney-Smith has guarded Mitchell for 26 minutes, according to NBA.com. In those situations, Mitchell is averaging 1.6 points per game.

And in totality for the playoffs, not just when guarding Mitchell, Finney-Smith is holding opponents to 39 percent from the field. He has also contested the second-most shots in the postseason (93). First is Joel Embiid, the center for the Philadelphia 76ers.

With Dallas tumbling towards a closeout Game 6, all of Finney-Smith’s efforts will be needed. 

He’s a big reason the Mavericks were able to hold Utah to 77 points in Game 5. He made things uncomfortable. 

In Game 6, he aims to duplicate that performance. 

“Holding a great offensive team to 77 points?” Finney-Smith said. “If we do that, it doesn’t matter if we make shots, we’ve got a great chance to win.” 

Related Dallas Mavericks reading 

“Mavericks: Dallas missed an opportunity to re-sign Jalen Brunson.” 
“Mavericks: In Luka Doncic’s return, the Dallas Mavericks let Game 4 slip away.”

Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.