The Dallas Mavericks improved their record to 9-3 following Wednesday's victory over the Washington Wizards. Dallas needed players to step up around Luka Doncic with Kyrie Irving out and that is exactly what happened. Dereck Lively enjoyed a good game in the post while Tim Hardaway Jr. caught fire from beyond the arc.

Hardaway dropped 31 points to go along with seven three-pointers to lead Dallas' offensive attack. He also recorded three assists and four rebounds for good measure. Hardaway is clearly making an early argument for the 2023-24 Sixth Man of the Year award, as he is currently leading the league in three-pointers and points off the bench, per StatMuse.

It should be noted that Hardaway suffered a knee injury in the game. Fortunately, he is expected to be fine. So with Hardaway likely to continue playing despite the injury scare, one has to wonder if he can keep playing at such a high level.

There is nothing to suggest that Tim Hardaway Jr. will slow down any time soon.

Tim Hardaway Jr. taking care of business amid Mavs' hot start

Mavs' Tim Hardaway Jr. smiling next to Mavs' Luka Doncic, Mavs' Kyrie Irving

The 31-year-old veteran has found a home in Dallas. He's been apart of the Mavs roster since 2018 and has played a big role in each season for Dallas. Hardaway looks even more confident right now though, as he is playing some of the best basketball of his career.

He is averaging 18.7 points per game on 44.1 percent field goal and 40.2 percent three-point shooting. Hardaway is doing more than finding the bottom of the net, however. He is averaging just under four rebounds per contest as well.

But scoring is what Hardaway Jr. does best. One difference in his game that is standing out is Hardaway's shot-selection. He isn't forcing three-pointers, rather, Hardaway is taking what the defense is giving him.

When defenders quickly close out on a Hardaway three-point attempt, he appears more willing to pump-fake and either drive or take a few steps in and shoot a mid-range jumper. And when defenses realize this and back off, Hardaway makes them pay from deep as evidenced by his superb three-point shooting.

Hardaway's performance has been pivotal for the Mavs. Defenses place most of their focus on defending Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, so having a key player like Hardaway step up is crucial.

Hardaway and the Mavs will look to continue playing a quality brand of basketball against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.