The Mavericks have not been doing well this season, and the faint scent of Trap Game filled the arena, especially since the Thunder are now missing two starters: Carmelo Anthony reported in with back pain, and Steven Adams still has yet to recover from his calf contusion. Dallas was missing three players — Seth Curry, Josh McRoberts, and Devin Harris — and this is Dirk’s 20th season. The perfect time for the Mavericks to pull off the upset. But it didn’t happen: despite some serious brilliance from Harrison Barnes and some sturdy plays from the new guys, the Mavs stayed behind so long that Kyle Singler got to play. And both Paul George and Russell Westbrook had semi-epic performances, PG-13 tossing up 37 points and Brodie following with 27. At the end, it was Oklahoma City 112, Dallas 99, the Thunder shooting a solid 50 percent and a way-better-than-average 15-32 on the long ball.
Things we’d like to have explained: How come Wesley Matthews didn’t make but one point all night? Since when does Dirk argue with the officials? (He got a T for his trouble.) And whatever happened to OKC board domination? The Mavs outrebounded the Thunder, 41-37. Meanwhile, Josh Huestis made three of seven treys in 22 minutes, during which time he rolled up six personal fouls. I don’t think Billy Donovan groused too much: OKC made 25 of 33 free throws, which is not good, but Dallas only took 18, making 14. The one double-double for the night: Barnes, with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
One game remaining on the home stand: the Bulls will be here Wednesday, and we should see a Grant Brothers tieup. (Jerami, if ‘Melo is still out, will start for the Thunder; brother Jerian plays for Chicago.) If OKC prevails, they’ll be back to .500.