The Oklahoma City Thunder's offensive struggles continued in tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder were horrific all night and dropped this game to the 4-15 Mavericks, 97-81. The Thunder remain winless on the road against the Western Conference and are now once again 3 games under .500, with two humiliating performances following Wednesday’s big win over the Warriors.
The Thunder came out the gate strong, building a quick 9-2 lead with efficient offense and scrappy defense. After a Mavs timeout, the Thunder hit a wall offensively and the Mavs quickly bounced right back into the game.
The Mavs run was at 15-2 when Russell Westbrook quickly put the team on his back and carried the offense for the remainder of the quarter. He attacked in the open floor and converted a couple of and 1's, Westbrook scored 16 of the team's 24 total points in the quarter. The Thunder trailed 25-24 after the first.
The struggles offensively continued in the second quarter, as the Thunder went scoreless for the first four minutes. The Mavs put in 12 unanswered points capped by by Dirk Nowitzki's six straight points that put them ahead 37-24.
The Thunder climbed back by getting some paint touches from the Westbrook-Adams pick-and-roll combo, but it was short lived. The success came from paint touches and then the Thunder reverted back to long twos and contested threes. The Mavs outscored the Thunder 27-13 in the quarter and took a 52-37 lead into the halftime break.
The Thunder showed some life in the third quarter after trailing 61-44, Carmelo Anthony led a 9-2 run to put the score at 63-53. However, the Thunder were outscored 15-2 for the remainder of the quarter and they trailed 78-55 at the end of third.
The lead was as big as 25 in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder continued to fight. The defense started to step up and the Thunder got out in transition and started connecting on their threes. The lead was down to 12 at 90-78 with under 2 minutes left following threes from Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant. However, after a few missed threes on the next possession, Wesley Matthews hit a three to put the Thunder down for good.
The Thunder shot just 36% from the field and were outrebounded 43-39. Also, they were beat in the paint 36-24. The Mavs did an excellent job clogging the paint and making it tough for the Thunder to get anything going inside. The Mavs connected on 15 of 35 threes. Dallas was led by ageless wonder Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with 19 points on 7-10 shooting, including several key 3-pointers in the decisive 3rd quarter.
Westbrook led the Thunder with 28 points, 9 assists and 12 rebounds. Melo scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Paul George had a terrible night offensively, as he scored 2 points on 1-of-12 shooting and 0-of-4 from three.
If there was any bright spots to this game, there was the solid minutes played rookie Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson entered the game early on and was the only Thunder bench player to score for a majority of the game. Also, Mr. Thunder himself made an appearance on the floor tonight as Nick Collision provided great minutes in the fourth quarter as the Thunder attempted a comeback.
The return to action on Wednesday night on the road against the Orlando Magic.