EditorsNote: Fixed Smith Jr.’s assist total from four to five; Fixed typo in last graf changing ‘rebound’ to ‘rebounds’
J.J. Barea scored 16 of his team-sparking 21 points in a first half that provided the host Dallas Mavericks an overwhelming lead they used to knock off the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 111-96 Saturday night.
Barea’s enthused play led a 20-6 burst by the Mavs to quickly break open a one-point first-quarter lead to 43-28, which then ballooned to 57-33 with 2:02 to go in the first half. The Thunder, still playing without floor leader Russell Westbrook because of an ankle injury, scored the final 12 points of the first half, but never truly threatened Dallas again.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Harrison Barnes and rookie guard Luka Doncic pushed the Mavs’ lead back up to 21 points early in the third quarter. Several Thunder rallies never managed to get Oklahoma City closer than 10 points.
Paul George led Oklahoma City with 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. But George was also an inefficient 8-for-21 from the field and 3-for-9 from beyond the arc, also accounting for five of the Thunder’s 16 turnovers.
The Mavs’ bench provided the hustle in the big 34-point second quarter. At one point, Dallas’ bench had scored 30 of Dallas’ 43 points on 11-of-17 shooting.
Joining Barea in double digits was Doncic, who finished with a team-high 22 points, while Harrison Barnes and Dorian Finney-Smith each had 11 points. Into the fourth quarter, the Mavs were shooting better than 50 percent from beyond the arc before finishing 14 of 29. Barea, who added five assists, and Wesley Matthews hit three apiece. Dennis Smith Jr. added 10 points and five assists.
Four Oklahoma City starters scored in double figures, but as a team, the Thunder shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and were just 9 of 34 from beyond the arc.
Steven Adams finished with a double-double, matching Paul with 20 points plus 13 rebounds. Dennis Schroder, starting in place of Westbrook had 19 points, six rebounds and three assists, and Jerami Grant finished with 13 points. No Thunder reserve managed more than Raymond Felton’s seven points.
—Field Level Media