The 12-11 Okalahoma City Thunder, who are much more dangerous than their record would indicate, welcome the Dallas Mavericks into their gym for the first time this year. The second youngest team in the NBA likes to get off to a fast start and push the ball in transition whereas the Mavericks look to execute in the half court and push only when there is an opening.
The Thunder present a challenge for any team in the NBA (there are no easy games in this league no matter what anyone thinks). This will be a game of wills and it comes down to which team executes their game plan better.
Game as a Whole:
Dirk Nowitzki recovers from his previous off night to help push the Mavericks over the hump tonight. He ended up besting Kevin Durant all night (Durant is currently third in the league in scoring) both in points and on the boards. While Dirk deservers almost all of the credit for the win, Shawn Marion and Erick Dampier both turned in excellent performances to compliment everything that Dirk was doing.
While the five-game winning streak is great, the Mavericks still have a few things that they will need to improve on if they hope to continue rolling. Jason Terry’s defense is just as much a liability for the team as Barea’s. Tonight, he was consistently getting blown by, and fouling in an attempt to make up for his defensive shortcomings. Too many second chance points given up by the Mavericks kept the Thunder in the game for most of fourth quarter.
- 11:37, Barea kicks of his night by missing a three-point jumper. Are we going to see the Barea that dominated the Hornets?
- 10:48, Barea redeems himself by drawing an offensive foul against Russell Westbrook. If he even slows Westbrook down a little bit the Mavericks should be able to pull out a win.
- 10:26, What is this, the Barea three point shooting clinic? Let’s get somebody else a shot shall we?
- 8:26, You absolutely cannot give up 2 offensive rebounds in one sequence to the Okalahoma City Thunder. They are going to make you pay. The Mavericks woes on the offensive boards continue.
- Shawn Marion is looking really active tonight. You won’t see his contribution in the stats sheet night in and night out but he is definitely making his presence felt for the Mavericks.
- 7:20, Is it me or is Barea taking way too many shots tonight? I know the coaches told him to stay aggressive but this seems a bit over-aggressive.
- 3:59, Shawn Marion block on Kevin Durant. Mavericks will need more of that if they want to take the lead in this game.
- 3:39, Josh Howard comes in for the first time tonight. Let’s see whether Howard can give us a spark off of the bench.
- 3:24, Definitely dodged a bullet on this offensive sequence. One offensive rebound and two missed three pointers for the Thunder isn’t the best outcome but I will take it.
- 2:20, Shawn Marion in for Dirk? Marion and Howard on the floor at the same time? This is interesting.
- 0:03, Looks like this lineup has effectively tied the game. Thanks Shawn Marion and Jason Terry.
- 11:38, Like the hustle from Josh Howard (almost back to his old form) but you have to put one shot in if you get your own offensive rebound.
- 10:52, Drew Gooden misses a 12-foot jumper (shouldn’t be taking those) and then makes up for it by fouling at the other end. That’s not going to put your team in a position to win.
- 10:03, Dirk misses a jumper. Color me surprised that the Mavericks are only down by three at this point.
- 9:07, Drew Gooden cleaning up the garbage on a missed layup attempt by Barea. This is really what Gooden should stick to, not jump shots.
- 7:33, Josh Howard seems to be taking his ride on the off night train. Glad to see him make an 18-foot basket at this point in the game.
- 6:07-5:37, Welcome to the Drew Gooden show! Dunks (Jason Terry assists), defensive rebound, and then draws a shooting foul. That’s how you start to take over a game.
- Shawn Marion used to be an okay three-point shooter when he was at Phoenix. When is he going to start setting up for some three’s again?
- 3:45-3:42, How is it that in the span of 3 seconds you can have two offensive rebounds gathered in by two different players and they both end up missing the put back? Not going to name names, as it is embarrassing.
- 1:54, Erick Dampier makes a layup (Kidd gets another assist) and the Mavericks are now only down two points.
- :22, Dirk out of the timeout is always a great play. I wonder how many times they draw up the play specifically for Dirk?
- 10:20, The fade away is back. Dirk, it’s looking like you need put the Mavericks on your back tonight after the poor game you had the other day. Comes back and gets fouled on the next possession.
- The Thunder are another team who have a record that doesn’t tell the full story. They have a pretty dangerous starting five, even if they are pretty young.
- Mavericks are 2 of 9 from behind the 3 point line right now.
- 9:06, Great hand-off by Kidd to Dampier, but he couldn’t finish the play. Kidd, nice old school moves going off of the playe’rs back to get the ball inbounds.
- Dampier makes both of his free throws. Great when he does that.
- 8:37, Mavericks only down 3 and Kidd takes a three pointer off of a screen. Didn’t even set his feet. If he hit those all the time, wow.
- 7:21, Dirk really looks awesome when he takes it to the basket. He really should mix his game up more and continue to do that.
- 5:53, Dampier looks like Dwight Howard rolling to the basket. Takes a lob from Kidd and banks it off the glass before touching the ground. Sadly, basket doesn’t count as Kidd was fouled on the pass.
- 4:08, Josh Howard has a great turn-around jumper. That was his best shot tonight.
- Mavericks are going on a run. Dirk hits a baseline jump shot and then, after a defensive stop, Josh goes coast-to-coast for a layup. Thunder cannot be happy with that.
- 2:00, Dirk trailing for three is the Mavericks new go-to play. I really like how people haven’t figured out that you need to run out to the three-point line and cover him.
- :22.9, Marion takes it hard to the basket to put the Mavericks up by 4. Weren’t they just up by 7 not even a minute ago?
- 11:33, Starting off the quarter by getting the Thunder into foul trouble. Yes please. Mavericks are really fighting for rebounds now.
- 10:50, Gooden tries to put it up against two defenders under the basket. Bad choice.
- I can’t believe the Thunder are the number one free throw shooting team in the league.
- Shot clock violation. Kidd needs to be back in the game. Tied 71-71.
- Mavericks have turned it over in each of their last three possessions. The Thunder now lead the game by two.
- 8:18, Time for Drew Gooden to sit down and Erick Dampier back in the game. Offensive rebound with a put back "and 1". Come on.
- 7:55, In case of emergency, let Nowitzki go glass. 2-point banker is good.
- 7:33, Howard ties it on two free throws.
- 5:29, Dirk hits another 2 point shot to put the Mavericks up five. Their interior defense falls apart on the next possession.
- 4:43, Offensive rebound for Dampier, who then gets fouled. Dallas needed these foul shots to slow the game down. This will allow their defense to get back and get set on the next play.
- 4:05, Howard may have hit a dagger three. Mavericks get a block on the Thunder’s next possession.
- 2:18, Dampier takes a perfect pass from Dirk at the three-point line (after a shot fake). This is going really well now.
- 1:43, Correction, Dirk hits the dagger three. The Mavericks are officially taking over the 4th quarter (something they normally don’t do).
- The Thunder have absolutely fallen apart at the end of the game. I guess this is what you get from a young team? Mavericks are up 12 with less than 40 seconds to go.
- Mavericks win 100-86.
Some Choice Statistics
- More clutch play from Dirk, 55-55 on Free Throws in the Fourth Quarter/OT this year.
- Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden both end up coming out of this game with -7 in the +/- even though they had valuable contributions.
- Dallas is currently the third best free throw shooting team in the league at around 80%.
The Mavericks haven’t been known as "closers" but after a tight game against the Thunder it was a great sign to see them close the game out with a big run to completely shut the door on a comeback. The winning streak continues even though the team is still a work in progress.