Mavs/Thunder games are usually fairly riotous, but usually not to the extent that one of the coaches gets a free pass to the locker room. Tonight Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was T’d up twice, the second for kicking the ball into the stands, though the Mavs didn’t do anything differently in his absence: the entirety of the Dallas offense seemed to be “Get Jason Terry the ball.” Terry was his usual effective self, though Dirk Nowitzki was having an un-Dirk-like night (two of 15?) and both Lamar Odom and Brendan Haywood were missing in action. Meanwhile, the Thunder, who had trailed through most of the first half, sputtered; but in crunch time they came up with both buckets and stops, snagging the win, 95-86.
Thabo Sefolosha is still out, and Scott Brooks, noting that starting James Harden hadn’t been all that successful against the Clippers night before last, came up with the idea of starting Daequan Cook at the two. Cook managed some Thabo-like numbers, and Harden was back in double figures, so perhaps this will be the rotation while Sefolosha heals. Russell Westbrook led the scoring parade with 33; Kevin Durant had 23 plus 13 rebounds, and Serge Ibaka — well, is this technically a double-double? He scored only four points, but got 11 rebounds and ten blocks. And it’s a good thing there was some serious defense on display, because the Thunder shot only 40.7 percent and hit only five of 20 treys.
Then again, the Mavs shot only 35.7 percent and hit four of 19 treys. Nowitzki was held to eight points, half of which came from the foul line. Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright contributed twelve points each, but nobody else broke double digits. No way can we blame this on Carlisle’s brief spate of hotheadedness.
The Grizzlies show up in OKC Friday night, and that’s just the beginning of a hairy road trip: at San Antonio on Saturday, Portland on Monday, Golden State on Tuesday, Sacramento on Thursday and Utah on Friday. The Thunder won’t be back home until Valentine’s Day, and the Jazz aren’t exactly bearing candy hearts these days.