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Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Falls Flat in 111-96 Loss in Dallas

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

The Oklahoma City Thunder put their 7-game winning streak on the line against the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday, but they were unable to pick up the win as they went down 111-96.

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Rapid Recap

The Thunder played some solid defense to start the game, and despite their inability to score as often as they would have liked to, they trailed for only 9.4 seconds of the first quarter. Paul George had a strong start with 8 points and 4 rebounds, including a ferocious slam dunk early.

Dennis Schröder chimed in with 8 points of his own, and Steven Adams started with 4 points and 4 rebounds despite picking up two fouls early. J.J. Barea hit two free throws for the Mavs in the final seconds of the period, and at the end of the first, Dallas led 23-22.

Dallas ended the first quarter with 4 straight points and continued their scoring with 7 more before Terrance Ferguson cut off the 11-0 run by the Mavericks with a ridiculous putback slam dunk.

The Thunder was unable turn things around at that time, however, as Dallas continued their scoring and pushed their run to 19-4 before Paul George was able to check back into the game with a little over 6 minutes left in the half.

Even then, OKC couldn’t stop Dallas as the Mavs extended their run to 38-11 as they took a 24-point lead with just two minutes to go in the second quarter. The Thunder finally turned it up on both ends of the floor and went on a 12-0 run of their own, capped by a Paul George three-pointer, to finish out the second quarter trailing the Mavs 57-45 at halftime.

After finishing the second quarter with a lot of momentum, it seemed the Thunder was turning the corner and would soon be in control, but that was not the case to start the second half. The Mavs extended their lead back to 21 after an 11-2 run through the first three minutes of the quarter before OKC would finally answer with an 8-0 run of their own to cut back into the deficit.

After all of that, the Thunder and the Mavs went point-for-point with each other the rest of the period, and with just twelve minutes left to play, OKC trailed Dallas 82-70.

Through the first five minutes of the final period, the score differential had not changed as both teams continued to battle back and forth. It was at that point that the Mavericks put their foot back on the gas and were able to extend their lead a bit. Dallas was able to get up by as many as 19 in the final minutes, and the Thunder fell short in the end.

Box Score

Thunder Player of the Game

Steven Adams was overlooked time and time again tonight, but even still he was able to have one of his best games of the season. Adams finished the night with 20 points on 8-11 (72.7%) from the floor and 4-8 (50%) from the free throw line while pulling down 13 rebounds in 37 minutes. Of his 13 rebounds, 7 of them were on the offensive end where the Thunder set a franchise record with 26 offensive rebounds.

Despite shooting the highest percentage from the field out of the entire team, Adams was fourth in attempts. He continues to be left out of the regular flow of the offense, and had he been more involved in scoring, the outcome may have been different. Defensively, Adams held DeAndre Jordan to 6 points and 9 rebounds in 28 minutes.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • Too Many Threes: The league-wide trend of shooting a high volume of threes has infected the Thunder, and the results have not been good. Despite being the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, OKC continues to shoot 30+ times from beyond the arc every game. The Thunder has one player shooting above the league average from three, and that’s Patrick Patterson. Alex Abrines and Paul George, arguably OKC’s best shooters, have not been hitting at a high rate, and that is killing what the Thunder is able to do offensively. Simply put, start hitting or stop shooting.
  • Where’s the Bench? With Dennis Schröder filling in for the injured Russell Westbrook, the Thunder bench struggled to find a scorer to lead the way. OKC’s reserves scored just 22 points shooting 9-31 (29%), which is unacceptable. Guys like Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson have to be more consistent, and Raymond Felton should not be taking 12 shots in a game anymore.
  • We Need Russ: Without a doubt, this game would have looked very differently had Russell Westbrook been able to play. A loss like this is unacceptable, but the good news is that Westbrook will be back soon. Meanwhile, the Thunder needs to stay afloat and take care of teams that they should be able to beat with ease.

Back at the ‘Peake

The Thunder heads back to OKC for a couple of home games, and on Monday they host the Phoenix Suns. The Thunder defeated the Suns 117-110 in Oklahoma City earlier this season, and Phoenix has not improved much, winning just one game since then and falling to 2-10 on the season. Tip-off is set for 7 PM and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.

Be sure to follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out our latest episode of Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys on YouTube or Facebook. 

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