The Dallas Mavericks trailed the Oklahoma City Thunder by one point with 12 minutes to play on Oct. 29 before a 26-9 run to open the fourth quarter pushed Dallas out to a comfortable 16-point edge. They did the majority of the work with Luka Doncic on the bench, and the Mavs were on the verge of moving to 3-2 on the young season, but OKC had other ideas.
Dallas collapsed over the final four minutes as the Thunder tied it up at 99-99. Luka had a shot at the game-winner, but he missed the mid-range fadeaway to open the door for OKC to take over the contest in overtime where the Thunder secured the wild 117-111 win.
It was a night to forget for the Mavericks, but how did they lose? The rebuilding Thunder were down 16 points with less than four minutes left in the game, and they still came back and won in overtime. Here is a look at the final four minutes to decide how Dallas lost on Saturday night.
How the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Thunder: A look back at the final 4 minutes
Dallas had all the momentum entering the final four minutes. They were up 94-79 when Luka Doncic returned to the floor with 5:41 left in the quarter, and Dallas held a three-to-two edge over the next 101 seconds. Spencer Dinwiddie just entered the game for Josh Green, which left Christian Wood, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Doncic flanking him on the floor.
Dallas would swap in Bullock for THJ just 32 seconds later, but OKC cut the lead to 13 before that with three free throws. The name of the game for the rest of the regulation was easy buckets on one end and missed jumpers on the other.
The Thunder made seven of nine field goals as Isaiah Joe scored seven points, including the 3-pointer that tied the game at 99 and forced overtime. Joe did his best Damion Lee impression from the season-opener as the Mavericks again took their foot off the gas.
Dallas missed all seven of their field goals over the final four minutes, but they got open looks. Luka created four free throws but only made two. Doncic is shooting 83.6 percent from the foul line through five games, but his two late misses were costly on Saturday night.
Luka Doncic took the blame for the loss in the postgame press conference.
"It’s on me. I didn’t lead the team. I didn’t make shots. That game is on me. I didn’t do what it needed to be to win."
Doncic had a poor shooting night, but he finished with a 31-point triple-double. It was an awful shooting night for the entire Mavericks team, but they survived it until their fourth-quarter collapse.
Head coach Jason Kidd played Christian Wood in crunch time, and that move backfired. Dallas had zero rim protection, and the Thunder scored ten points in the paint over the final four minutes to complete their comeback. C-Wood often makes up for his defense issues with offensive production, but he missed his only field goal in the final four minutes.
The clutch offense has been stale in the first five games. Dallas did defeat the Nets in overtime, but they have just one win in the four games where the score was within five points in the final five minutes. Lu Dort made it tough on Luka all night, but Dallas cannot keep settling for jumpers late when they are not falling. Doncic needed to get to the rim and get an easy bucket. The Mavericks scored two points in four minutes of play, and they just needed one easy basket to grab the victory.
It was their defense that was the most disappointing in the final four minutes. Fans want Christian Wood on the floor in clutch time, but can he hold up defensively? Coach Kidd place some of the blame there in his postgame press conference, but it was the entire team’s defense that was poor and cost them against the Thunder. Was playing Maxi Kleber over C-Wood the right move? It would have helped Dallas get a stop, and they likely only needed one to win on Saturday night.
Credit to Oklahoma City. They wanted it more, and the Thunder stole one in Dallas on Oct. 29. It was an incredible comeback that left this scribe nearly speechless. It hurt because the Maverick just needed one basket or one stop to secure the victory, but OKC scored every time down the floor to win.
How can head coach Jason Kidd improve the clutch time offense? What can he do to help the team on the defensive end? It has been an up-and-down first five games for the Dallas Mavericks. They could easily be 5-0, but the Mavs are 2-3 and still searching for answers. Stay tuned to see if they can work them out.