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Thunder vs Mavericks, final score: OKC can’t stop the bleeding, fall at home 106-103

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The Thunder once again could not convert against a weak opponent with little to play for, and their chances to make a mark in the playoffs dwindle a little bit more.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

box score | Mavs Moneyball

The Thunder fell to the Mavericks on Sunday afternoon, 106-103. In their 2nd home loss in a row, the Thunder once again struggled from nearly start to finish to wrangle a team that has had a worse post-ASW stretch than they have. As a result, the Mavs, currently 17 games under .500, win the season series against the Thunder, 3-1.

The Thunder found themselves trailing by 9 at one point in the 4th quarter, but clawed their way back to take a late-game lead. However, through some timely shotmaking by the Mavs as well as a bad defensive breakdown that led to a dunk, the Thunder could not retake the lead and drop yet another against a team inching toward the lottery.

There really isn’t much to say about this game, to be honest. Dallas coming into the game was 3-18 since All-Star weekend, having incurred losing streaks of 5 and 7 games in the stretch. Luka Doncic, the likely Rookie of the Year, sat, because there’s no point in putting him in any harm’s way at this point. So instead, another rookie, this one 2nd round pick Jalen Brunson, picked up the slack by recording 18 points and 4 assists, including a contested step-back to put the Mavs up one with 49 seconds remaining, and then beat Paul George off the dribble to dish to a wide-open Dwight Powell dunk that proved to be the game winner.

Collectively, the Thunder — who are supposed to be the team with something to play for at this point — didn’t do much of anything better than the Mavs throughout. They didn’t shoot better, didn’t rebound better, and perhaps in Rick Carlisle’s latest bag of tricks against the Thunder, had his team offer OKC as many threes as they wanted. The gambit of course worked, as OKC — one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league — fired up 43 of them, hitting only 11. This included 3 misses in the final 14 seconds of the game.

Meanwhile, Steven Adams recorded another strong game with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 assists. He led an effort where OKC powered their way to 44 points in the paint.

It’s an unstable mixture — that inability to consistently do the thing that is working, while embracing the thing that isn’t. And that’s why, once again, OKC could not defeat a team they should have been controlling from start to finish.

Next game: vs Lakers on Tuesday, April 2 at 7PM CST


post script.

Those of you who made it to the end of this sad, sad recap, there’s a little bit more for you, if you want to follow the white rabbit...