The Thunder’s (7-5) seven-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Saturday night in Dallas, as rookie Luka Doncic posted 22 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds — leading the Mavericks (4-8) to a 111-96 victory at the American Airlines Center.
Despite dominating on the boards and setting a franchise record for offensive rebounds (26), the Thunder offense mustered just a 39.2 percent clip from the field, 26.5 percent from downtown, and 61 percent from the free throw line. On the flip side, the Mavericks were red-hot on offense, hitting 55.8 percent of their field goal attempts and going 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) from three-point range. Dallas built a 24-point lead in the first half and kept the Thunder at a safe distance for the remainder of the contest.
Paul George had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists in the losing effort. Steven Adams scored 20 points of his own, adding 13 rebounds. Dennis Schroder (19) and Jerami Grant (13) were the only other Thunder players in double-figures.
The Thunder return to action on Monday evening when they’ll face the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Per a report from earlier in the week, it’s possible Russell Westbrook will return to the lineup, so that’s something to watch for. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
The Second Quarter: The Mavericks led 23-22 after the first quarter, but blew the game open with a 34-point second quarter. Dallas led by as many as 24 in the second — taking a 57-33 advantage at the 2:02 mark on a free throw by Doncic. Though the Thunder would close the half on a 12-0 run, trimming the deficit to 12 at the break, it never really got much closer than that at any point moving forward. The damage was done there in the second frame.
Bench Scoring: Dallas used a massive 53-22 advantage in bench scoring to pace their victory. As per usual, JJ Barea proved to be a thorn in the Thunder’s side, as he dropped 21 points off the bench and shot 8-of-14 from the floor in 22 minutes of action.
Rebounding Oddity: In one of the more strange statistical feats of the season, the Thunder had 53 total rebounds — 27 on the defensive end and 26 on the offensive glass. OKC won the offensive rebounding battle by a final tally of 26-4… but lost the game by double-digits. That’s hard to do.
Back to Work: With the glow of a seven-game winning streak now officially in the rearview, the Thunder need to get back to work and continue trying to find their offensive identity. Nights like these will happen — and more often than not the Thunder defense will do a better job than they did against the Mavericks tonight. What’s more concerning is the offense and its inconsistencies through the first 12 games. Westbrook returning to the fold will be a much-needed boost, but the shooting has been abysmal and the team has failed to score 100 or more points in three consecutive games. Winning two out of three without Westbrook (so far) was huge. The seven-game winning streak after starting 0-4 was even bigger. For this team to reach any of their lofty preseason expectations, things have to get a lot better on offense moving forward.