The Dallas Mavericks’ late comeback attempt wasn’t enough to overcome the Thunder, as they lost 116-108. The Mavericks got out to an extremely poor start, building a deficit of 15 points in the first quarter, and looked lifeless during most of the second and third quarters. In the final period, Dallas mounted a final attempt on the backs of Josh Richardson, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Jalen Brunson. Their attempt came up short, though, thanks to a few key Thunder shots.
The Mavericks star duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were both listed out from the game due to injury recovery, inserting Brunson into the starting lineup.
Here are four stats that capture this, at times hard to watch, but interesting game:
42.7%: The Mavericks field goal percentage, thanks to some horrific mid-range attempts
The shot selection for the Mavericks inside the three-point line was really bad tonight. There were very few drives to the paint due to the Thunder big trio of Aleksej Pokuševski, Moses Brown, and Al Horford, forcing the Mavericks to settle for jump shots. It is something when your three-point percentage is higher than your overall rate from the field at 44.1%.
Brunson and Richardson were still relatively efficient, but the shooting percentages for deeper bench players like Trey Burke and James Johnson really hurt the team early. Hardaway also had long stretches where he seemingly reverted to beginning-of-last-season Hardaway, forcing the ball up every single time he touched it.
69.7%: The Maverick free throw percentage on a massive 33 attempts.
When an NBA team has as many as 33 trips to the line, it becomes unlikely they will lose thanks to all those freebies. The Mavericks shot their season high in attempts tonight, but on a horrid sub-70% rate. Six of those misses came in the final period, which could have easily put the Mavericks up and complete their comeback, not to mention the 10 misses would have given the Mavericks the win. The Maverick high scorers all struggled from the line, each missing fourth quarter attempts. Richardson entered the night over 90 percent from the line and he missed two.
16: The size of the deficit cut in the fourth quarter
Way too often this season, when the Mavericks were facing a mid-game double-digit deficit, it was almost a certain white flag. That’s what made the Mavericks final run impressive, especially as they had other moments of cutting the lead to 10 only for the Thunder to respond. Maxi Kleber hit some huge threes in the run along with big shots from Hardaway and Brunson, so at least it can be said that the Mavericks had every chance to win the game regardless of whether their stars were playing in the game or not.
2:19: The total playing time all Maverick rookies got tonight
When the news of the Porzingis and Doncic scratches broke, the idea of rookies getting serious rotation minutes tonight seemed like a real possibility. Players like Josh Green and Tyler Bey had shown some development and production in the G-league, and they had recently just been re-called to Dallas. Unfortunately, Green was the only rookie who saw the floor, and in just over two minutes he took one end-of-shot-clock attempt that missed and subsequently air-balled a floater. Coach Rick Carlisle promptly pulled him for the game.
The discussion over how to use the Maverick rookies, whether to get productive minutes out of them or at least let them develop, will likely continue throughout the season as they each continue to navigate their way through the NBA.