Image Credit: @MavsPR Twitter
On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Oklahoma City Thunder in hopes of snapping their “mini” two game losing streak. The games start to mean a whole lot more, the more we get closer to the end of the season. The Mavericks hope to start the new week with a win and get some momentum going to finish the month of March strong.
On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks played the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of a five game road trip. The Mavericks started this game being extremely shorthanded as they would be without both of their superstars of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Despite being extremely shorthanded, the Mavericks competed with the Pelicans through every minute until the final 3:42 of the game where the Pelicans used a 18-8 to beat the Mavericks 112-103. Without their superstars, the Mavericks relied on Tim Hardaway Jr as he provided 30 points off the bench but wasn’t enough for a win. The Mavericks were dominated by Zion Williamson as he scored 38 points on the Mavericks to finish with a win. The Mavericks also got production from Jalen Brunson as he provided 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field but still wasn’t enough. With the loss, the Mavericks record dropped to 23-21 on the season, as they lose a spot in the western conference standings to drop to the eight seed in conference.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming into this game by going 5-5 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 111-94 loss against the Boston Celtics on Saturday to see their record drop to 19-26 on the season. The Thunder were coming into this season with hopes of trying to make the playoffs but didn’t get the results that they wanted as they now find themselves trying to land a good a pick in the NBA Draft. The Thunder are currently 13th in the western conference standings. This team is now led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after they announced that they would sit out Al Horford to give other players more playing time to evaluate their roster.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks lost their last meeting with the Thunder 116-108 on March 11th, 2021. The season series is tied 1-1 as this game would brake the tie and clinch the season series with these two teams no longer meeting again for the rest of the season. The Mavericks previously split their regular season series last season 1-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Overall, the Thunder hold the all-time series with a record of 84-78.
The Mavericks started this game by having Willie Cauley-Stein and Tyrell Terry still out with JJ Redick rehabbing his injury but Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would return to action and play in this game. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Richardson, Kleber, Finney-Smith and Kristaps Porzingis as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he nailed a three pointer for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Thunder wouldn’t get their first points until the 9:56 mark as Aleksej Pokusevski knocked down a tip-in shot to come within 3-2 of the Mavericks. Both teams would have trouble shooting the ball as nothing was going in the hoop until Luka Doncic made a driving layup to extend their lead to 7-4 with 7:53 left in the quarter. The Thunder would call a timeout with 7:00 minutes left in the quarter after being down 10-9. Prior to this timeout, both teams were able to shake off their rusty start by getting some buckets to fall in the hoop while exchanging baskets along the way. The Mavericks began the game by making four of their first eleven attempts taken while the Thunder make four of their first thirteen attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Thunder turned to Theo Maledon but couldn’t convert as he missed a three pointer that kept the score at 10-9 with 6:50 left in the quarter. On the following possession, the Mavericks would get two points on a THUNDEROUS SLAM DUNK by Kristaps Porzingis as he slammed that one down WITH AUTHORITY to extend their lead to 12-9 with 6:35 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would get a couple of stops on defense that resulted in extending their lead to seven points after Jalen Brunson made a 2-foot shot to extend their lead to 16-9 with 4:57 left in the quarter. The scoring drought by the Thunder would end after Theo Maledon drilled a jump shot to come within 18-11 of the Mavericks with 4:20 left in the quarter. The Thunder would call a timeout with 3:38 left in the quarter as they saw their deficit grow to 23-11. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense was flowing by getting good looks while knocking them down. The Mavericks were able to generate a 13-2 run to generate control of the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Thunder turned to Josh Hall as he was able to convert on a three pointer to come within 23-14 of the Mavericks with 3:25 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain the lead and took a 33-24 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he scored 12 points for the Mavericks. The Thunder were led by Josh Hall as he scored 7 points off the bench. This wasn’t quite the explosion that you were expecting the Mavericks to do, with both of their superstars back but it’s good to see the Mavericks hold a lead. The Mavericks finished the first quarter by shooting 56% on 14-of-25 shooting from the field. Fun fact: The Mavericks are (currently) 15-0 on the season while ending the first quarter with a lead.
The second quarter would begin by having Kenrich Williams nail a two pointer for the Thunder to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 11:26 mark as Dwight Powell would drill both free-throws to make it 35-26. The Thunder would cut their deficit to three points after Tony Bradley knocked down a layup to come within 35-32 of the Mavericks with 10:18 left in the quarter. All of a sudden it was a two point game after Ty Jerome nailed a jump shot to come within 36-34 of the Mavericks with 9:30 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 8:00 minutes left in the quarter after the Mavericks allowed the Thunder to catch up and tie the game at 41-41. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were playing sloppy basketball as they were just going “through the motions” thus resulting in poor execution on offense. The Thunder were able to get some good possessions on offense to come back and erase the Mavericks 12 point lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to convert on a easy wide-open layup to regain the lead at 43-41 with 7:40 left in the quarter. That layup by Luka Doncic was just the second made basket in the quarter for the Mavericks until Dorian Finney-Smith made it three on a driving layup to keep their lead at 45-42 with 7:02 left in the quarter. The Thunder weren’t going away that easy as Ty Jerome drilled a three pointer to come within 47-46 of the Mavericks with 5:51 left in the quarter. Boy, the Mavericks simply cannot lose to this young Thunder team on their first game back with BOTH of their superstars. The Thunder would call a timeout with 4:51 left in the quarter as the Mavericks were able to generate a run to extend their lead back to seven points. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense started clicking again as they were able to generate a 8-2 run to retake control over the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Thunder turned to Theo Maledon but turned the ball over as he committed an offensive foul that kept the score at 55-48 with 4:32 left in the quarter. The Mavericks offense kept rolling as they extended their lead to nine points after Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer to extend their lead to 60-51 with 3:50 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain their lead as they took a 71-63 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he scored 16 points for the Mavericks. The Thunder were led by Ty Jerome as he scored 10 points off the bench. The Mavericks were able to finish the first half after ending both quarters with a lead. The Mavericks finished the first half shooting 55.3% on 26-of-47 shooting from the field. The Thunder were going to give the Mavericks everything they could give as they weren’t going to the Mavericks a “free pass” in this game.
Coming out of the half, the Thunder were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Aleksej Pokusevski completing a “three point play” by making the basket while being fouled and nail the extra free-throw to come within 71-65 of the Mavericks. Dorian Finney-Smith was able to score the first points in the quarter for the Mavericks as he finished an alley-oop from Luka Doncic with 11:34 left in the quarter to extend their lead to 73-66. The Mavericks offense started to roll as Luka Doncic started to heat up in the game by drilling a three pointer to extend their lead to 81-69 with 9:11 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were in business as they started to push the gas by getting their offense going. The Mavericks would generate another alley-oop as this time was from Dorian Finney-Smith to Kristaps Porzingis to extend their lead to 86-73 that forced the Thunder to call a timeout with 7:50 left in the quarter. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense was sizzling as they made five of their first seven attempts taken thus far. The Thunder offense was a bit “cloudy” as they only made three of their first six attempts take thus far. Still the Mavericks had to continue playing their “A-Game” with this scary young Thunder team as they could erase the lead quickly at any moment in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Thunder turned to Isaiah Roby but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 86-73 with 7:40 left in the quarter. The Thunder saw the Mavericks doing alley-oops and decided to do one for themselves as Isaiah Roby found Svi Mykhailiuk for an alley-oop to come within 88-79 of the Mavericks with 5:43 left in the quarter. The Mavericks started to pull away from the Thunder after Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer to extend their lead to 95-79 with 4:24 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 3:48 left in the quarter after seeing the Thunder break the 80-point mark with Svi Mykhailiuk making a slam dunk to come within 95-81 of the Mavericks. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were on a 7-2 run after they were able to get some shots to go down. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr off an offensive rebound but couldn’t convert as he missed a three pointer that kept the score at 95-83 with 3:24 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks once again finished a quarter with a lead as they took a 100-83 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 23 points for the Mavericks. The Thunder were led by Aleksej Pokusevski as he scored 19 points. This game wasn’t pretty for the Mavericks as they were allowing the Thunder to remain in this game, BUT the good news is the Mavericks would just need to play 12:00 more minutes of solid basketball and they will walk out with a victory. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 53.5% on 38-of-71 shooting from the field.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Nicolo Melli nail a breakaway slam dunk for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. This would be Melli’s second made basket as a Dallas Maverick. The Thunder would call a timeout with 10:59 left in the game to use a “Coach’s Challenge” on a Tony Bradley turnover while trailing 102-83 to the Mavericks. After the review, the Officials ruled an unsuccessful “Coach’s Challenge” after they stuck with the original call of Mavericks ball, thus costing the Thunder a timeout. After that result, the Mavericks would capitalize on that by having Jalen Brunson nail a layup to extend their lead to 106-83 with 9:57 left in the game. The Thunder were still searching for their first points in the quarter until Tony Bradley drilled two free-throws with 9:12 left in the game to come within 108-84 of the Mavericks. BACK-TO-BACK DUNKS WOULD OCCUR FOR MAVERICKS ROOKIE JOSH GREEN that gave the Mavericks a 112-85 lead as the game was getting closer to “Blowout Territory”. With 7:22 left in the game and the Mavericks holding a commanding 114-88 lead, Rick Carlisle decided it was time to take Luka Doncic out of the game to give him some rest and allow others to see some playing time. Unless the Thunder went on a massive scoring run, the Mavericks were on their way to a victory.
This team looked like they would have an “easy one” with the Thunder but the Thunder came to play by forcing the Mavericks to earn this one as the Mavericks finished the first half leading the Thunder 71-63 at halftime. This game was closer than it expected it to be as both teams would compete to see who would come out with a win.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 127-106 in their first game with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis back. The Mavericks record would improve to 24-21 on the season as they snapped their mini two game losing streak. Luka Doncic finished the game with 25 points and 7 assists in the win. The Thunder were led by Aleksej Pokusevski as he finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds. The Mavericks also got production from their other superstar Kristaps Porzingis as he finished with a solid 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. The Mavericks ended this game by shooting 53.1% on 51-of-96 shooting from the field. The Mavericks would have four players reach double figures in scoring with Tim Hardaway scoring 19 points off the bench. With the win, the Mavericks clinched the season series against the Thunder 2-1.
The Mavericks will close out the month of March on the road with a matchup against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.