Noel got the Mavs out to a great start in the first half, flying around the court and scoring in different ways around the rim. His 10 first-half points were crucial as the Mavs didn’t have much going on during the first half offensively.
Defensively, Noel anchored a fiesty Mavs effort. Dallas forced Oklahoma City into bad passes and careless turnovers, holding the Thunder to just 10 points in the second quarter as the Mavs led 50-35 at halftime.
The third quarter? The start of it? Let’s never speak of it again. One of the worst three minute displays of Mavericks basketball in a long time, with the Thunder opening the frame with an 11-0 run and the Mavs committing like, a thousand turnovers.
Luckily Dallas recovered thanks to Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Salah Mejri giving the Mavs a boost off the bench. Barea hit a three, Mejri had some good defense and Harris had a few nifty finishes. OKC got the score to 56-55 but Dallas ended the quarter up 12, which was pretty remarkable considering how the half started.
The fourth quarter belonged to Yogi Ferrell and a bunch of tense buttholes as the Thunder kept bludgeoning the Mavs at the rim, trying to will themselves back into the game. Ferrell hit three 3-pointers to score 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder whittled the lead down to 91-88 with 1:26 left in the game after a Westbrook and-1.
The Mavs offense was basically non-existent in the clutch. Ferrell hit a three to put the Mavs up 91-78 with a little under four minutes left and from there it was a bunch of missed jumpers and drives to the basket coming up empty.
Westbrook basically wouldn’t stop Westbrook-ing. He was the Thunder offense down the stretch and he drained the game-winner with a little over seven seconds left. Barnes missed a long three at the buzzer and the Thunder erased a 13-point lead in the final 3:31. Woof. What a bad game.
This was not a good game to put on Harrison Barnes’ “I’m a number one option” resume
It has not been a great for Barnes in the clutch. He was awful offensively down the stretch against the Clippers last week, redeeming himself on defense after putzing away the Mavs late lead with missed shots and turnovers and Barnes help do the Mavs in again coming up empty in his late isolation sets while the Thunder roared back.
Barnes shot 4-of-14 from the field with a lot of those misses coming in the second half and the fourth quarter. It was a tough go for Barnes, who has been pretty brilliant all year manufacturing points for the Mavs when they’ve needed it the most. So he’s earned some rope here, but there’s no denying how brutal is was to watch Barnes clank turnaround jumpers and get two free throw attempts. There has to be a future where Barnes is getting free throws in that situation instead of contested jumpers. There just has to be.
Nerlens Noel was everywhere
Noel finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, four steals and one assist. He was a minus-15 on the night because box score plus/minus is a weird and flawed stat. Dallas desperately needed his energy against a big and nasty OKC front line.
I love his offensive versatility in that he is so good at scoring around the bucket without relying on just lob jams and open dunks. He missed a couple good looks in the second half, but overall he was stupendous.
Mark Cuban needs to shut the hell up
OK Mark, we get it. You can stop talking trash about Russell Westbrook not being a superstar, because I’m pinning every loss to OKC from now till I’m dead on you running your mouth to fire up a superstar who really doesn’t need to get fired up more than he already is.
Westbrook scored 12 of the Thunder’s final 14 points, hit the game-winner and had another triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook is now averaging 37 points against the Mavs this year, so, seriously Mark shut your mouth. Westbrook is gonna trash this Mavs team till the end of time and then Westbrook Jr. is going to keep trashing them and Mark Cuban on his deathbed is still going to say nobody in the Westbrook family is a superstar and I’m going to launch myself into the sun.