The Oklahoma City Thunder had their six-game winning streak come to an end in controversial fashion, but they remain one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Thunder will try to put the disappointing setback behind them and get back in the win column when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
The NBA’s last two minute report confirmed that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo stepped out of bounds before his game-winning dunk in Oklahoma City’s 97-95 setback on Friday. “I guess we’ll see something on the ticker that says referees missed that one,” Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony told reporters. “We can’t do nothing about that at this point, so we might as well forget about it and move on and get ready for - who we play Sunday? Dallas? Get ready for Dallas.” Oklahoma City will need to turn the page quickly to prepare for the Mavericks, who are riding a three-game winning streak and are coming off a 128-120 victory at New Orleans in which they buried a franchise-record 22 3-pointers. “We really moved the ball there, especially in the first half,” Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki told reporters. “Guys just started to get hot. Devin (Harris) got hot, Wes (Matthews) hit like three or four in a row, and [Dennis Smith Jr.] was hot all night, stepping back behind a screen when they went under. That was beautiful to watch.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (12-25): Smith recorded his first career triple-double when he collected 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Friday’s win. “They were trying to press up at first, and I realized I could get to rack whenever I wanted,” Smith told reporters. “After I got the floater to go down, everybody started backing off and my jump shot was falling tonight. That really opened up the offense for everybody else.” Smith was one of seven players to score at least 13 points as Dallas shot 55.4 percent from the floor and went 22-of-39 from beyond the arc on its record night, which lifted the team out of last place in the Western Conference.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (20-16): Oklahoma City’s point guard knows all about triple-doubles, and Russell Westbrook’s sensational play has been a key to the team’s recent success. The reigning NBA MVP is averaging 31.4 points on 54.3 percent shooting, 10.1 assists and 9.1 rebounds over the last seven games, capped by 40 points, 14 boards and nine assists on Friday. The missing piece on Friday was forward Paul George, who sat out the contest with a knee injury and is not expected to be back on Sunday.
1. Thunder SG Andre Roberson (knee) is not expected to play Sunday.
2. Matthews went 4-of-7 from 3-point range on Friday after going 2-of-16 in the previous three games.
3. The home team took each of the first two meetings this season, with Oklahoma City earning a 112-99 win at home on Nov. 12.
PREDICTION: Thunder 106, Mavericks 102