In a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, the Oklahoma City Thunder started a four-game road trip in Dallas Monday.
Kristaps Porzingis started fast, scoring his team’s first seven points. The fellow Mavericks would follow suit as they wound up scoring 33 points in the opening quarter.
The second quarter was a precursor for the remainder of the game as it featured several runs. When Oklahoma City cut the lead to 41-40, Dallas responded with a 12-2 run to enter halftime up double figures.
Out the break, Dallas would pick up where they left off. The Mavericks began the third with a 13-0 scoring run and pushed their lead to 22 points.
Facing their most significant deficit, the Thunder put together a run of their own. A 22-2 scoring run had Oklahoma City down five points going into the fourth.
Some crucial missed free throws from both teams led to a chaotic ending. A three from Ty Jerome left the Thunder down two with seconds to go.
“Our end of game execution was pretty good tonight, cutting it to one score after trailing by four a couple of times there at the end,” Mark Daigneault said.
On the ensuing possession, Dallas’ Josh Green missed a pair of free throws that gave the Thunder a chance at a game-winner.
Unfortunately, the Thunder didn’t even get a shot off on their final play due to great defense on the inbound.
Dallas would hold on and win narrowly 104-102 over the Thunder.
Oklahoma City almost completed the comeback due to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s performance tonight.
Gilgeous-Alexander led all players with 34 points, on 11-18 shooting from the field. The Thunder’s star had another impressive night from the free-throw line, making eleven out of twelve attempts.
Also, kudos to the Thunder for picking up their defensive effort in the final three quarters. Josh Giddey shared his thoughts on the Thunder’s early defensive issues tonight.
“Defensively, I think we were slow and missing rotations, plus Luka and Brunson were picking us apart in that pick and roll,” Giddey said.
Once the Thunder got their defense together, they could keep the Mavericks in check. Luka Doncic had only 20 points while shooting 4-17 from the field.
After his aforementioned fast star, Mavericks star Porzingis scored six points in the remaining three quarters.
Ultimately, the Thunder could not overcome the third-quarter hole they fell into.
Let’s see if they can get back on track on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.