The Oklahoma City Thunder were back in action on Sunday evening in Dallas against the up and coming Mavericks. The game was the first of a back-to-back against the Mavs. In a game full of runs, Paul George scored 36 points to lead all scorers, but Thunder mishaps late in the 4th proved to be their demise as the Mavs edged out a 105-103 victory.
OKC shot 43% from the field and only hit nine out of 38 threes (24%). The Mavericks were able to win the rebound battle 49-39 and edged out the points in the paint 46-44. The Thunder forced 24 turnovers for the Mavs and turned that into 20 points. They also were able to destroy the Mavs in fast break points 31-4. The Mavs hit 14 threes on the night and shot 45% from the field as a team.
The Thunder trailed 84-73 as the fourth quarter began, and OKC turned to their bench to start the period. The bench provided a much needed boost of energy on both ends. It started with Nerlens Noel crashing the boards for a tip in, Raymond Felton forcing Dwight Powell to travel at the rim after the perfect rotation, Dennis Schroder being in attack mode, Hamidou Diallo taking advantage of a mismatch against Dirk Nowitzki and Patrick Patterson finding his confidence. The bench unit quickly reduced the Mavs lead and it culminated with a defense-to-offense play. Noel blocked a Powell layup, Westbrook saved the ball from going out of bounds, Diallo pushed the ball up the court and lobbed it to Patterson for a two handed slam (2Pat’s fifth dunk of the season).
Here is your all Kentucky highlight of the night. Nerlens Noel rejection leads to the alley oop from Hamidou Diallo to Patrick Patterson for the slam. pic.twitter.com/cy2Vc2P8YA— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 31, 2018
The bench unit helped the Thunder take the lead midway through the 4th 90-88, finishing with 37 points as a unit and put OKC in a position to win. The Thunder starters returned and George took over from there. He scored 13 in the final six minutes of the game and put the Thunder in a good position to win. George nailed a three to put the Thunder ahead 101-95 with two minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the final two minutes of the game were a disaster for OKC:
- Coming out of Mavs time out, dead ball foul on George, resulting in free throws — 101-97.
- George loses the ball at the top of the key, resulting DeAndre jordan dunk — 101-99.
- George hits contested step-back 20 footer — 103-99.
- George fouls Jordan off the ball, resulting in free throws — 103-100.
- Westbrook’s bad pass stolen, George fouls Harrison Barnes — 103-102.
- Westbrook misses contested 20 footer off an ISO set, with the Mavs daring him to shoot.
- Dennis Smith Jr. makes driving layup after OKC gets lost on a switch — 104-103.
- George misses contested 20 footer off an ISO set. Following personal take foul, Mavs up 105-103.
- Westbrook misses a game-winning 3-point attempt, finishing the night 0-8 from beyond the arc.
In the final two minutes, OKC’s lazy offensive possessions turned into turnovers, and those turnovers led to Thunder fouls and easy layups. The Mavs hit 6 out of 7 free throws down the stretch, part of a 10-2 run to finish the game.
George led the Thunder with 36 points (13 in the 4th) on 12-of-24 shooting. Schroder scored 19 points off the bench and dished three assists. Westbrook struggled heavily tonight, only scoring nine points with nine rebounds and eight assists. Adams scores nine points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Doncic scored 25 points to lead the Mavs and dished seven assists. DeAndre Jordan put in 12 points and snatched down 17 rebounds. Harrison Barnes scored 16 points and Dennis Smith Jr. chipped in 14 points.