Tonight the Oklahoma City Thunder finally blew out the Dallas Mavericks, instead of playing a close game. The past games between these teams have been shoot outs, with the Thunder prevailing only be some desperation shots and overtime thrillers. Tonight was a different story when the Mavericks came to town. With Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki not 100% healthy, someone else had to step up for both teams. It is always fun to watch these two guys go at each other from the tip-off to the final buzzer.
Only three teams have won against the Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Mavericks new that going in. The Mavericks needed this game to stay in hunt for the playoffs, but again, not all the cylinders were running.
Vince Carter was out of the game due to being sick and they needed his leadership and his absence was a factor tonight. Carter has been a spark plug for the Mavericks this game, especially in the fourth quarter. The only player that was a bright star for the Mavericks was Shawn Marion who scored 23 points. Shawn stepped up tonight, but his team came up short. This was the fourth road trip for them and only won one of the four.
They wanted to make it two out of two but was blown away tonight. “We don’t have any excuses. At this point, that would be lame to blame it on that,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who was denied in his first chance to earn his 500th career win.
Finally, Carlisle knows something needs to be done about these Mavericks this season before its too late. They even had two days of rest to prepare them for this game. The main reason they lost tonight was that they couldn’t hold onto the ball. Even he mentioned this, saying “when you put these guys on the open floor with catastrophic turnovers, they’re going to make you look bad. I think that was it more than anything.”
This was a tough game for Dallas after winning at Phoenix “That always gets us in trouble when we turn the ball over. We’re usually not very good when we can’t go back and set our defense up. That really, for us, is a recipe for disaster,” Nowitzki said.”But even defensively when we had our defense set, we didn’t get much going. They got whatever they wanted. They got threes, they got layups, they got backdoor cuts. We were ball-watching. It was just an all-around tough game.”
The Thunder put the hammer down by leading by at least 20 throughout the second half thanks in part to Russell Westbrook who had a great game scoring 24 points. They came out with a lot of energy tonight and wasn’t going to let the Maverick’s hit them in the mouth early like they did the previous games. The starters even got to rest the entire fourth quarter and let some of the seldom reserves play, Perry Jones III and Daniel Orton.
Then as always, tempers flared when the lead got lopsided. Kendrick Perkins and O.J. Mayo had to be separated because some nice words were exchanged between them. The team was losing by 33 points at one point, and certain players’ anger flared up a little bit, especially when they felt like they got hit in the mouth.
The Thunder played with passion, emotion, toughness and with a focus. The Mavericks on the other hand played a sloppy game, had some missing pieces, and played like they were tired when they should have been rested. Tonight was a great game showing that this Thunder team can bring the hammer down on anyone.
John Hayden is a Writer and Contributor for RantSports.com, covering the NCAA and NBA. Follow John on twitter @jdhayden09, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.