4 min read

Thunder blast shorthanded Mavs, 108-89


With the Mavericks resting their entire starting five and the Thunder expectedly blowing them out, I was searching for an angle already in the second quarter. Maybe there’d be an awesome play to write about, maybe someone unexpected would have a great second half in garbage time. Just something.

Then I looked at Russell Westbrook’s line: zero points on 0-3 shooting, seven rebounds and eight assists. Hey! Wouldn’t it be something if Westbrook went scoreless and ended with like 15 assists? That would be something.

Literally 30 seconds after I said this aloud to myself, J.J. Barea grabbed Westbrook on a break, Westbrook reacted by swinging his arm and yelling “Get the f— off me, man!” and thus, picking up his second technical foul and the third ejection of his career.

So Westbrook did indeed go scoreless. With seven rebounds and eight assists. But not exactly in the way that was expected.

Westbrook was asked three questions postgame, all about the incident, and as expected, declined answering them.

First, about what sparked the altercation: “Oh, man, I thought we did a great job tonight. Good win for us. This Dallas team came in without a lot of their guys and we did a good job competing.”

Second, if he thought the Mavs might’ve intentionally been trying to make it chippy because they were shorthanded: “I just thought we did a great job of playing together. Guys did a great job, Dion, Kevin, guys came off the bench and made some big plays. Played well.”

Third, about Barea specifically: “I just think together overall, played a good game. A good energy, defensively did well, forced some turnovers got out in transition.” Westbrook paused and someone (me) started asking another one.  “I wasn’t done,” he interrupted, “got out in transition, made some 3s, I think we tied our season-high tonight, so it was good for us.”

And that was that. Kevin Durant was a bit more forthcoming about it.

“That’s how Barea is,” he said. “He’s a chippy player. I mean, he has to be that way. He’s the smallest guy in the league, one of the toughest guys in the league as well. So we knew he was going to try and add a little something to the game, but we did a good job keeping our heads. I know it got a little testy there, but that’s part of basketball, that’s a part of competitiveness, but we didn’t let it get us down, we kept playing through it.”

Billy Donovan said he didn’t agree with the second technical, and Durant seconded that.

“I didn’t agree either,” he said. “But after the first skirmish, I guess, they just tried to — you could tell all night, they were calling it a little tight. Barea was arguing with the ref, Coach [Rick] Carlisle was arguing with the ref to give him a tech. He knew it was going to come after what happened early on. If that whole thing didn’t happen before, that wouldn’t have even been a tech. I guess they had to kind of control the game, but it was unfortunate and, I’ll end it there.”

So, yep. I’ll end it there too.


  • Here’s something not good: The Thunder bench was spotted a 21-point lead heading to the fourth. The test was if it could do well enough to keep Durant on the bench for the entire fourth. They didn’t, eventually cutting it to 14. Durant re-entered with six minutes left, played for two minutes, and checked back out.
  • I don’t know if Donovan just doesn’t trust his second unit, or if he he just got a little scared by the Mavs tightening things up considering recent events. But I did think he should’ve let the bench ride a little more.
  • The concerning part about this, though, was the Mavs second unit was actually their third unit, considering their second unit started the game.
  • Garbage Time Dion is the best Dion, though. He finished with 18 points on 6-13 shooting, plus five assists.
  • Durant talked postgame about how he’s never seen a team go zone for an entire game. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen zone all game in the NBA. We put two plays in before the game and we executed them and got good shots all night.”
  • More on that: “I knew they were going to try and throw some junk defenses out there and muck the game up. Zone, I’m a sniper, so I just tried to shoot them out the zone, but they stayed in it. So just be aggressive and my teammates were looking for me, so I stayed aggressive in the offense.”
  • Durant went on an 8-0 run himself, hitting a 3 in Justin Anderson’s face, then another deeper one in his face, then ran by him for a dunk after a steal. “I seen it was a little wacky, we were a little wacky, their team was, so I tried to take advantage of it. Plus, they had a rookie on me.”
  • Was kind of surprised this wasn’t Westbrook’s first scoreless game of his career. He also didn’t score in 2010 against the Pacers. He played 17 minutes and the Thunder got blown out.
  • So the first scuffle. It took seven minutes to review it, but ended up with double-techs on Westbrook and Barea, two technicals on Charlie Villanueva, who was ejected, and one on Serge Ibaka.
  • Andre Roberson went all Klay Thompson in the first quarter, scoring NINE points. It was something to watch. Pretty proud to say I was there to see it.
  • The big thing Roberson did do in the first quarter, though, was make smart cuts. That’s his best way to be effective offensively. Instead of just entirely standing in the corner waiting to not be passed to, make a cut, make the defense move, and be ready to catch and finish.
  • Second half, a fan was yelling at J.J. Barea, saying something like, “Do you cry like this to your wife?” Barea looked at him and said, “What?” And naturally, the fan got stage fright, pulling back on the yelling and just saying, “Stop crying.” But I bet when he tells his friends about it tomorrow, he’s going to be like, “So I says to Barea, I says, ‘Yo J.J.! you little punk! You ain’t nothing! Come up here and I’ll show you what’s up!”
  • I know this isn’t Kyle Singler’s intention, but his hair turns into a middle part buttcut every time he starts running.
  • Favorite sequence of the night was definitely Dion Waiters airballing a corner 3, then Payne setting him up again in the same spot — with a ridiculous one-handed pass, mind you — and Waiters then swishing it on the second try.

Next up: Home against the Wolves on Friday