The Dallas Mavericks lost the first regular season game 102-104 at Oklahoma City Thunder when Kevin Durant scored a long buzzer beating three pointer. Dallas handily won the second game at home 100-87. This set the stage for two heavy weight division leaders meeting head to head in game three. The Mavericks come up short as the Thunder rolls in Dallas 86-95. Full game stats are here.
The 2012 strike shortened 66 game season presents some interesting dynamics for fans and teams. Some teams jumped out of the gate, some are struggling. Dallas struggled early but has played much better lately. With many games coming back to back there is little time for practice and injuries are mounting up. Jason Kidd out with a calf injury, Lamar Odom ill, and Brendan Haywood out with lower back pain.
The Mavericks shot 66 percent in the first quarter even with Dirk Nowitski in a shooting slump. Dirk shot 2-15 and ended with eight points. The team percentage dropped to 33 in the second quarter. Dallas still lead 52-49 at the half.
Shawn Marion suffered a hyperextended knee just before the half ended but continued to play. He kept heat packs on the knee when benched. Shawn shot poorly like the rest of the team but ended the game with 12 points and a team high 10 rebounds. He played good defense and helped keep Kevin Durant to 23 points.
The Mavericks have had some trouble this year maintaining focus and intensity in the third quarter. They tend to come out flat. This was evident in the game. Shooting percentage plummeted to under 16 percent. The Mavs couldn't buy a basket. The third quarter ends with Dallas down by five. The fourth quarter was nearly half over before the Mavericks scored their first basket.
Shortly into the fourth quarter Rick Carlisle kicks the ball and is ejected from the game. Sometimes a coach uses an ejection to spark a team when nothing else works. We saw this in the Mavericks/Celtics game on Jan. 11. It looked like frustration got the best of Carlisle on this night. Aside from poor shooting there were considerable bad calls by referees. Bob Ortegel of Mavericks Live commented after the game that "...this was not a well officiated game..." An understatement in my mind. Ortegel went on to say this was not the reason Dallas lost. Poor shooting was the reason. I can live with that.
The Mavericks were down by 10 with nine minutes left in the game. Assistant Terry Stotts coaches the Mavericks back. A few shots start to drop. Jason Terry works the crowd and shows that indomitable "will to win." Terry finishes the game with a Maverick high 25 points. Brandan Wright plays some good minutes with three blocks and 12 points. Shawn Marion ties the game at 85 with 2:10 to go.
But that was it. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant pull the Thunder ahead to stay. The game ends at 86-95 with the Thunder on top.
A frustrating game. As always I hoped for a win. The Mavericks played good defense but shooting percentage was an abysmal 36 percent. We can put part of that down to the Oklahoma defense. The Thunder won fast break and points in paint. Looks like we missed Brendan Haywood in the middle. I like that Dallas didn't give up. Next time...
Gerald has been a fan of the Dallas Mavericks since the mid 80s. He hopes for a win every time.