November 26, 2017 / 4:35 AM / 6 months ago

Upstart Mavericks rout listless Thunder

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points and the Dallas Mavericks limited the Oklahoma City Thunder to 31 points over the second and third quarters in a 97-81 victory Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.

After tallying only 39 points in the second half of Friday’s disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Thunder showed no discernible plan on offense Saturday and became easy prey for the resurgent Mavericks.

Dallas limited Oklahoma City to 36.7 percent shooting from the field. The Mavs (5-15), led by Nowitzki’s season-high total that included 4 of 7 from beyond the 3-point arc, have won three of four and earned consecutive wins for the first time this season.

“They were open,” Russell Westbrook said of the Thunder’s shot selection. “We usually make those shots and we missed them tonight.”

Westbrook’s response to being asked what was missing in this game: “Everything.”

Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have failed to mesh, and Saturday was a prime example of their lack of cohesiveness. George, who scored a season-best 42 points two weeks ago, had only two against Dallas on 1-of-12 shooting.

Westbrook scored 16 of his game-high 28 points (along with 12 rebounds and nine assists) in the first quarter. Anthony, who finished with 16 points, made three of his four 3-pointers during a quick burst in the third quarter when Oklahoma City cut the deficit to 10 points, but just as quickly saw the deficit balloon.

Dallas closed the third quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 78-55 lead heading into the fourth.

“I think that the last two games, coming after the Warriors game, we just really haven’t gotten going offensively,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “In periods of time, we just really haven’t gotten going. At some point, and hopefully soon, we can get it going offensively.”

Trailing 25-24 after the first quarter, Oklahoma City got buried in the second quarter and never recovered. Its 13 points in the period marked a season low for any quarter, while it was also the fewest points in a quarter Dallas has surrounded all season.

“Tonight was all about will and chemistry and sticking together,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Oklahoma has three guys that are just flat-out great players, and we are a team that is made up of our collective units.”

Those collective units dropped the star-studded Thunder to 8-11, losing two straight since the blowout win against Golden State Warriors.

Offensively, the Mavs kept the ball moving and got double-digit scoring from five players. Aiding Nowitzki were Dennis Smith Jr. with 15 points, Harrison Barnes with 12 points and 12 rebounds and Wesley Matthews with 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers. J.J. Barea came off the bench for 10 points.

“We get some shots and we got a little more energy, a little more pep in our step,” Nowitzki said. “We just have to build on that and get better as a team, stay fresh. Like I said, the schedule is finally turning in our favor.”

NOTES: Mavericks G Seth Curry has been ruled out for the rest of November. Coach Rick Carlisle said Curry, who has yet to play this season because of a leg stress fracture, has been doing some on-court work, but has to participate in a full practice. ... G Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas’ first-round draft pick and Rookie of the Year candidate, celebrated his 20th birthday Saturday. ... Thunder F Carmelo Anthony passed Ray Allen to move into 23th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list wth 24,514. ... The Thunder dropped to 2-8 on the road this season.

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