5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 106-101 LOSS TO THUNDER
NO PORZINGIS, HARDAWAY: Missing one starter wasn’t much of a problem for the Mavs two weeks ago when they won games in Milwaukee and Philadelphia without Luka Doncic. But missing two starters? Now that’s a problem. The Mavs found that out the hard way Tuesday night when their depth was severely tested because Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (left hamstring strain) couldn’t play due to an injury. The domino effect from missing Porzinigs and Hardaway was catastrophic as the Thunder bench outscored the Mavs’ bench 40-28 and outrebounded them 23-17. Also, there is no timetable for the return of forward Ryan Broekhoff, who suffered a fracture of the proximal head of his left fibula during Sunday’s game against the Lakers.
PAUL TOOK OVER: For the first 46 minutes, the Mavs prevented Chris Paul from taking over the game. But in the game’s final two minutes, Paul completely took over the game. After being held to just eight points in the opening 46 minutes, Paul recharged his battery and poured in nine points over the final two minutes to help rally the Thunder to an improbable victory. The Mavs led this game, 99-92, after a 3-pointer by Luka Doncic with 2:57 remaining ni the game. From there, the game belonged to Paul as he hit a pair of free throws, a 3-pointer, a floater and a 17-footer as OKC finished the game on a 14-2 run.
KLEBER STOOD HIS GROUND: Thrust into the starting lineup at the last minute because of Porzingis’ injury, Maxi Kleber more than held his own. Kleber played 35 minutes — the eighth time he has played at least 30 minutes this season. He also scored 14 points — three less than his season high. In addition, the third-year veteran collected a season- and game-high 14 rebounds, eclipsing his previous season high of 12 rebounds he grabbed during a Dec. 26 game against the San Antonio Spurs. Kleber was 4-of-9 from 3-point range. The four made treys ties the season high he converted against Boston on Nov. 11.
REBOUNDS AN ISSUE: One area that had an impact on this game, according to coach Rick Carlisle, was rebounds. With five players snatching at least seven boards, Oklahoma City outrebounded the Mavs, 56-49. That includes former Mavs center Nerlens coming off the bench to grab a team-high 12 rebounds, and starting center Steven Adams securing 11 caroms. But it was the OKC guards who really made their presence felt on the boards. Guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (10), Chris Paul (eight) and Dennis Schroder (seven) combined to corral 25 rebounds.
LUKA KEPT MAVS IN IT: Luka Doncic did his best to keep the Mavs in the game. The secomd-year point guard poured in a game-high 35 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out seven assists. It was the 13th time this season that Doncic has scored at least 30 points in a game. He also had 17 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Mavs nursing a 32-20 lead. Doncic wound up playing a season-high 40 minutes and was 12-of-29 from the field and only 3-of-16 from behind the 3-point line. The 16 attempts from 3-point territory represent a career high for Doncic.
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