Dallas Mavericks Fall 95-91 to Oklahoma City in Another Close Game Gone Bye
After ending their three game losing streak Saturday night with a victory over Utah, the Dallas Mavericks took the quick trip north to Oklahoma City to take on the Western Conference leading Thunder Monday night. It was the second game that Lamar Odom was back in uniform for the Dallas Mavericks since his bewildering absence from the team. With Brendan Haywood getting injured and leaving the game in the first minute, it was evident the Mavericks were going to need Odom and the rest of the bench to contribute heavily on the night.
The Mavericks played a total team first half and received a big boost from back up center Ian Mahinmi who put up 13 points and five boards before fouling out on a very questionable call late in the game. Roddy Beaubois looked alive and active on the night, putting up nine points and contributing on the defensive side with three steals and a two blocked shots. After showing well Saturday against Utah, Lamar Odom was back to his 2012 ways, as he scratched the pad for six points on 3-9 shooting, two boards and a blocked shot. The Mavs took a 52-45 lead into the break but that is where the fun ended.
Somebody forgot to tell the Mavs the third quarter started as the team came out of the locker room looking flat and tired. All the good ball movement and active defense was gone as it was missed jumper after missed jumper in the third. The Thunder quickly erased that seven point half time lead and Russell Westbrook’s J with 9:23 left in the quarter tied the game at 52. The Mavs continue to turn the ball over in the second half this season and that coupled with the fact they got buried on the offense glass gave OKC a 68-65 lead headed into the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant and Westbrook struggled all night and at the end of three they were a combined 10-31 from the floor. James Hardin was just 1-8 at that point so the fact that Oklahoma City was even leading heading into the fourth is hard to explain.
The Mavs began the fourth with a little run and James Hardin got hot for the Thunder making things nip and tuck through the fourth. Dirk started raining three’s from downtown and put the Mavericks up 86-85 with 3:44 left tot play. The big German finished with 27 points shooting 10-22 from the floor and had five rebounds. Jason “Jet” Terry added 18 points and seven assists on 7-19 shooting from the floor. Once again, the Mavericks were right there at the end. Dallas went up four with 2:30 minutes to play on another three by Dirk, but Westbrook answered with his own tre and OKC was back to within one. After a pair of botched possessions by each team, Ian Mahinmi was called for a foul on Serge Ibaka with :46 seconds left. Ibaka sunk both free throws putting Oklahoma City up 92-91. After a shot clock violation by the Mavericks with :22 seconds left, Dallas had to foul and Kevin Durant made one of his two free throws leaving the Mavs down 93-91 with 13.9 seconds left. Jason Terry got a good look at a 10 foot jumper from the baseline but left it short and OKC grabbed the last of their 45 rebounds on the night. Dallas has now lost four of five after the 95-91 defeat to the Thunder.
This was another game Dallas just was not able to put the lid on in crunch time. That is not the mark of a championship team. It is a crazy NBA season. The Dallas Mavericks play four games in the next five nights, beginning tomorrow at home against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks. With three road games to follow, this is a critical time for the Mavs to start closing the deal on these close games as the regular season races on.