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Game 5: Mavs at Thunder presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

OKLAHOMA CITY — Despite flying high as the team traveled up Interstate 35 following Tuesday night’s 123-104 home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks entered Chesapeake Energy Arena knowing that they would face a much stiffer challenge in the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Hoping to utilize the momentum of the victory the night before while trying to extend their winning streak to three, the Mavericks stepped onto the Thunder’s home hardwood well aware of their 10-game losing streak to the Oklahoma City squad. And while beginning a three-game road trip and playing the second outing in a stretch of four games in five nights, the Mavs knew they would need to be clicking on all cylinders in order to get a win in one of the NBA’s most hostile venues.

Instead, the Mavericks (3-2) would struggle protecting the ball all night while falling to their neighbors to the north for an 11th straight time, beginning their road trip on a sour note following a 107-93 defeat.

“You know, they’re a good team. And to win this game in this atmosphere you’ve got to really be right and you’ve got to be functioning well on all levels. You know, it just wasn’t there for us tonight,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of the loss.

Looking to stay on the attack one night after his 30-point, nine-assist outing against the Lakers, new addition Monta Ellis quickly jumped into the scoring with a 3-pointer in the opening minutes. Four-time All-Star Shawn Marion then lent a helping hand with scores around the basket.

But the Thunder stayed in the game behind the All-Star combo of point guard Russell Westbrook and three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. An alley-oop connection between Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones then lifted the home squad to a 33-31 edge after one.

Leaning on his reserves in the second quarter, Carlisle would continue to see the emergence of backup big man DeJuan Blair and second-year standout Jae Crowder. But the coach would soon be forced to burn a timeout after a breakaway slam by Westbrook to put the Thunder (3-1) up seven, 46-39, with 6:17 left in the half.

The Mavs then would rally behind the trio of Ellis, Marion and Crowder, while Carlisle neutralized the Thunder’s athleticism with a zone defense. Still, after the Mavs charged to within two, the Thunder again capitalized off Dallas’ miscues and pushed the separation on the scoreboard back to six, 57-51, at the halftime intermission

Despite connecting on 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, the Mavs were outshot through two quarters, 54.8 percent to 44.4 percent. The Thunder also converted the Mavericks’ 10 first-half turnovers into 14 points at the other end, nullifying Dallas’ 24-16 rebounding advantage and 9-2 edge in second-chance points.

Coming out of the locker room and sprinting to the first six points of the third period, the Thunder would quickly put the Mavericks in a double-digit hole to begin the second half. That’s when 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki tried to intervene, going to work on the offensive end after a quiet first half.

The Mavs would then lose sixth man Vince Carter for the night after receiving a flagrant-2 call for his elbow to Steven Adams with 4:01 remaining in the third.

“More than anything I just want to apologize to the fans of both sides, because there’s no need for it,” Carter would later say. “You know, they’re already trying to clean up the game of basketball and make it fun for fans to watch, and it’s just one of those things when you’re caught in the moment of a big game … and you kind of react to a reaction that was done to you. I just want to say that, because it’s not my intentions and I’ve never been that way. It’s just one of those things.”

Without one of the team’s emotional leaders, Carlisle then turned back to Crowder, who continued to stroke the hot hand from long range but couldn’t prevent his team from entering the fourth period down 85-75.

With his team attempting to stay within striking distance, Carlisle was forced to call for a timeout when Lamb’s 3-pointer pushed the Thunder’s lead back to 13 with 8:56 still on the clock. A thunderous slam by Westbrook then closed the door on Dallas’ comeback efforts before Derek Fisher’s 3-pointer made it a 104-91 score in Oklahoma City’s favor with 2:34 remaining.

Free throws by Durant then put the finishing touches on the Thunder’s win.

Following up his sensational night against the Lakers, Ellis led the Mavericks with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting, adding five rebounds and three assists to overshadow his seven turnovers. One night after scoring a career-high 18 points, Crowder continued to step up off the bench while matching Marion’s 17 points. Nowitzki made it four Mavs in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

Durant led four Thunder players in double figures with 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting while dishing out 10 assists, and Westbrook finished with 22 points. The Thunder’s 54.4 percent shooting also bettered the Mavs’ 42.4 percent, while claiming a 44-36 rebounding edge.

Oklahoma City overcame its 24 turnovers for 21 points as well, converting the Mavs’ 21 giveaways into 23 points at the other end. The Thunder also finished the game with a 54-42 margin in points in the paint and a 27-15 advantage in fast-break points.

“The problem is they’re so fast and athletic, if you do turn it over, it’s one or two dribbles, a couple long steps and a dunk,” Nowitzki explained. “You know, it’s extra costly against them, because they make you pay so fast. Without you even having a chance to get back it’s already a dunk.”

“I mean, 23 points off turnovers on the road is going to be really hard to overcome,” Carlisle concluded. “And then we got beat on the boards and we just didn’t play well enough. It’s a disappointing night, but we’ve got to get ready for the next one.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Minneapolis, returning to action Friday night against the Timberwolves as the Dallas team continues its three-game road trip. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m.

The Mavs return home Nov. 12 against the Washington Wizards. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.

Dallas Mavericks
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Shawn Marion, F327-132-41-104432221-917
Dirk Nowitzki, F345-122-44-406633042316
Samuel Dalembert, C243-100-00-054900032-16
Monta Ellis, G388-171-33-405530075-920
Jose Calderon, G313-61-22-211233031-119
Vince Carter130-40-20-001120001-130
DeJuan Blair194-80-00-021311013-188
Jae Crowder246-83-52-321302011-417
Gal Mekel100-40-10-011221000-60
Wayne Ellington80-10-10-00110000000
Ricky Ledo10-20-10-000000000-20
Devin Harris00-00-00-00000000000
Bernard James00-00-00-00000000000
Shane Larkin00-00-00-00000000000
Brandan Wright00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
36-859-2312-14112536171222116 93
42.4%39.1%85.7%
Oklahoma City Thunder
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Kevin Durant, F367-161-28-9123102052623
Serge Ibaka, F368-101-10-03101311322817
Kendrick Perkins, C142-40-00-02460003144
Thabo Sefolosha, G232-50-31-20224201015
Russell Westbrook, G3210-200-12-5011420521122
Nick Collison172-30-00-20110101574
Reggie Jackson111-40-00-001150010112
Jeremy Lamb204-73-52-203330122413
Perry Jones92-20-00-01120001054
Steven Adams202-30-02-22790210186
Derek Fisher152-40-11-10111000235
Andre Roberson11-10-00-01120002022
Ryan Gomes00-00-00-00000000000
Hasheem Thabeet00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
43-795-1316-23103444281052317 107
54.4%38.5%69.6%

OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s been a quick integration for starting shooting guard Monta Ellis since joining the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent this offseason.

The cat-quick guard, who joined the Mavericks (3-1) after averaging at least 19 points over the last six seasons with Golden State and Milwaukee, has continued to score with ease in the Dallas offense while averaging a team-best 25.0 points through the first four games. But it’s been Ellis’ playmaking skills that may have opened up the Mavericks’ offensive attack the most, as the eight-year pro has dished out 5.0 assists an outing while thriving in coach Rick Carlisle’s system.

“You know, he’s just a different kind of weapon,” Carlisle said of Ellis’ ability to attack a defense. “I mean, his catch-and-go ability and his speed in transition and his ability to change direction and attack the rim is unique in this league. … He’s unique, and it’s important that we put him in the right positions and the right situations. As games go on, he’s getting a good feel for what we want to do. And not only is he fast, but his change of speed and deception is really unique, too.”

Ellis’ full arsenal was on display Tuesday as he scored 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting and dished out a season-high nine assists to help the Mavs rout the Los Angeles Lakers with a 123-104 home victory to begin a stretch of four games in five nights. He’ll try to carry that performance over to Wednesday night, when the Mavs begin a three-game road trip in Oklahoma City against the Thunder (2-1).

“I think being aggressive opened everything up for us as a team,” Ellis modestly said after his all-around offensive attack gave the Lakers fits. “You know, me getting to the basket, they try to play me differently, so I’ve just been trying to open up everybody else. I’ve just got to continue to attack and make the right plays.”

Postgame: Monta Ellis

Mavs G Monta Ellis addresses the media following Tuesday night's 123-104 win over the Lakers, how comfortable he is with the offense and more.

Facing the lethal All-Star combo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Dallas team may have to continue to lean on Ellis while entering Wednesday night’s showdown ranking second in the NBA in scoring at 114.3 points per game and fourth in assists at 25.8 a night. But it’s the Dallas defense that figures to be tested most as the Mavs try to slow down Westbrook, who returned from a lateral meniscus tear suffered in the first round of last season’s playoffs and scored 21 points to go with seven assists in the Thunder’s 103-96 win over Phoenix on Sunday.

Meanwhile, after seeing Durant also explode for 33 points and 10 rebounds, Ellis and the Mavs will try to keep the three-time scoring champion contained as well in hopes of quieting the always-hostile Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“We’ve just got to contain the ball,” Ellis explained, “stop [Durant] and play everybody else, making sure they don’t have a good game as well. Just go out there and play as a team.”

He added: “We’re getting better and better every game. As long as we keep scrambling to help each other I think we’ll be alright.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to action Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back, beginning their three-game road trip in Oklahoma City for a battle against the Thunder. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 8:30 p.m.

The Mavs return home Nov. 12 against the Washington Wizards. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.