The Oklahoma City Thunder had a golden opportunity to put some distance between the Pelicans and themselves in the race for 8th in the Western Conference. Ahead by 14 points in the 2nd half against a struggling Dallas team, it appeared as if the Thunder were figuring out how to beat good teams on the road despite the loss of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka and an uneven performance from Russell Westbrook. Unfortunately for the Thunder, their offense fell apart and their defense got lazy, providing the Mavericks with the opportunity to score 39 3rd quarter points and an eventual 4 point win.
The loss moves the Thunder back into only a 1/2 game lead over the Pelicans, and with New Orleans playing tomorrow night against the Bucks, the 8th seed could switch hands again before the week is out. Furthermore, Dallas builds a greater cushion over the 8th seed. A Thunder win would have moved OKC within 3 games of the 7th seed. Now, that deficit grows to a 5 game deficit in the loss column behind the Mavs and Clippers.
In the upper half of the West, the Trail Blazers missed an opportunity to keep pace with the 2nd seeded Grizzlies. Portland fell to the Wizards, while Memphis overcame the same Nuggets team that recently knocked off the Pelicans.
Stats and standings courtesy NBA.com/stats