Dallas Mavericks prove reliance on Luka Doncic in loss to Thunder without their star

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-109 on Sunday night without superstar Luka Doncic. Number 77 rested on the second night of a back-to-back with a sore ankle. He had a 34-point triple-double on Saturday night, and Luka should be ready to play on Tuesday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

The Mavs struggled to sink shots and create open looks without Doncic. Christian Wood led the way with 27 points and 16 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie scored a combined 40 points, but they were just 12 of 34 from the field to get there.

Getting quality looks was a struggle without Luka, and the Mavericks struggled mightily on the defensive end of the floor. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander torched Dallas on Jan. 8 as he led the Thunder to victory. Here is a look at how the Mavs further proved their reliance on number 77.

Dallas Mavericks prove reliance on Luka Doncic in loss to Thunder without their star

There were some positives on Sunday night. The Mavs shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range as Davis Bertans and Reggie Bullock shot 50-plus percent. It was the two-point field goals where Dallas struggled. They live and die by their 3-point shooting with Doncic on the floor as the rest of the roster struggles to get into the paint and score easy baskets. That was on display against the Thunder as Dallas shot just 41.9 percent from the field.

The Mavericks allowed 69 first-half points, and they were outscored by 15 in the second quarter. Dallas never recovered from their 16-point halftime deficit as the Thunder cruised to victory. The Mavs are now 23-18 on the season, but they are winless in four contests without Luka.

The defense was not good enough on Sunday night. The Thunder shot 48.9 percent from the field as they scored 120 points on their home floor. Dallas was without three of their best defenders and four key rotation players, but they had won eight of their last nine behind an incredible run from Doncic. Without number 77, they had zero chance on Sunday night.

The Dallas Mavericks are back in action on Tuesday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Luka Doncic should be back on the floor, and the Mavs will be hungry for a victory. Be sure to tune in and enjoy the game.

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