Well, that was just ugly.
The Mavericks started this game playing really small with three guards and Dirk at center. With Adams, Kanter and Gibson all playing significant minutes, in theory the Thunder should’ve matched up well against Dallas. That wasn’t the case at all. The Thunder never really got into an offensive rhythm and seemed sluggish at times. This four day, three game road trip has been rough really tough for OKC.
Russell Westbrook had a pretty off night for his standards. He had a nice stat line of 29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block, but he shot an inefficient 8-of-24 from the field and 2-of-10 from behind the arc. Adams and Kanter were the only other Thunder players that scored in double digits. Adams had a good night with 19 points, 5 rebounds. Russ was making a concerted effort to get Adams involved. He posted up on Dirk for several occasions and I really like seeing Adam involved in the offense. Kanter probably had the best night for the team with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. He probably should’ve played more than 19 minutes in this one.
The Mavericks played with energy, effort and hustle tonight. They’re still battling right now for that last playoff spot in the West. Their roster is comprised of eight players that went undrafted and three players that got selected in the second round. Seth Curry has really hit a groove lately and has averaged 19 points per game since the All-Star break. He had a really great night with 21 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal on 10-of-16 from the field. Dirk Nowitzki turned the clock back in this game. He announced earlier this week that he’s planning on returning for his 20th season next year and it looks like he still has a decent amount left the tank with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
I was surprised the Thunder didn’t go small to match Dallas. This might be something Billy Donovan does eventually when Oladipo returns. The Thunder offense couldn’t keep up and they needed to try something different. When the Thunder offense is struggling it often seems like it’s rooted in that the Thunder aren’t running plays that often. The offense revolves too much around Russ running high screen pick and rolls with a big and him improvising. It’s just too predictable. There are very few plays that are run for guys like Abrines or McDermott to get them open looks.
The Thunder were +14 in free throws attempted, +11 in rebounds, +14 in fast break points and +12 in points in the paint. They were able to play to their strengths with more traditional bigs, but they really, really struggled to score. They shot a miserable 9% from behind the arc and Dallas capitalized.
- The Thunder need some Victor Oladipo in their life right about now. He’s missed six consecutive games because of back spasms. Hopefully he’s back soon, this team hasn’t been very feathery as of late.
- Russ got the line 13 times. He’s done a great job of getting the line this season and this is his fifth straight game of making 10+ free throws.
- Taj Gibson probably should be starting for the rest of the season. Domas continues to struggle and I don’t think it will stunt his development to put him with the second unit for the rest of this season. The Thunder need to start gearing up for the playoffs and I think Gibson would be maximized best as a starter.
- Per Royce Young, “Thunder suffer their seventh straight road loss.” They’re playing the Nets next on the road, so at least they’re likely to not suffer an eighth consecutive road loss.
Next up: Home against the Blazers on Tuesday