The Dallas Mavericks flew to Wichita, Kansas with limited expectations facing the Oklahoma City Thunder and despite staying within striking distance for much of the game, the shorthanded Mavs eventually succumbed 88—76 at the hands of last year’s Western Conference Champions.
Scoring machine Kevin Durant scored 18 points and James Harden added 16 to lead the Thunder and normally defensive-minded Serge Ibaka added 15.
The Mavs were playing without Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter and leading scorer and rebounder Chris Kaman and lost Brandan Wright during the game.
Considering the competition, the team kept pace fairly well. It could easily have been another blowout.
It was another solid night for rookie sensation Jae Crowder who scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Brandan Wright added 11 points and 5 rebounds in just over 17 minutes on the floor before leaving with an ankle injury.
Bernard James again looked solid in playing the role everyone expects of him with 5 points and 7 rebounds to go with 2 blocked shots. When his offense develops, watch out for Sarge.
The Mavericks pulled to 80-71 on a jumper by Bernard James with just over five minutes play but the Mavs only scored one point until about a minute left to fall further behind.
The oft-injured Brandan Wright rolled his ankle and left the game after putting in a solid performance prior to his exit.
As with other games this season, the opposition didn’t shoot well but they didn’t have to because the Mavs again struggled even more. This stat line looks all too familiar: 37.3% from the field, 18.8% from downtown and 61.1% from the line.
For the preseason, the Mavericks are holding their opponents to only 41% shooting, which would be a sure-fire prescription for a winning record if they weren’t hitting only 43% themselves including 3 consecutive games below 40%. Simultaneously they are being blocked out in the lane and for the preseason have been out rebounded 344-292.
The Mavs will be back home to face the Charlotte Bobcats at the AAC on Friday night with three new players on the roster. See our upcoming preview on the game for the skinny. Game time is 7:30 CDT.