MAVERICKS (23-21) AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (19-26)
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: The Mavs are on a two-game losing streak, and the losing streak coincides with the loss of Luka Doncic. The third-year point guard sat out Friday’s 109-94 loss to the Indiana Pacers with lower back tightness. He also was sidelined for Saturday’s 112-103 loss at the New Orleans Pelicans with a non-Covid related illness. . .Forward/center Kristaps Porzingis (right knee, injury recovery) also missed the contest against the Pelicans. However, coach Rick Carlisle said Porzingis could have played against the Pelicans, but was held out because, “We just feel it’s the best thing for the team and for him. And when I say the team, I’m talking the big picture of the season.”. .Both Doncic and Porzingis are listed as probable starters for tonight’s contest. . .The game against OKC is the second of a season-high five-game road trip for the Mavs. The trip continues with games Wednesday at the Boston Celtics, Friday at the New York Knicks and Saturday at the Washington Wizards before the Mavs return home to host the Utah Jazz on April 5. . .Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson led the way against the Pelicans with 30 and 24 points, respectively. . .The Mavs fell behind the Pelicans, 35-20, after the first quarter. It’s the 10th straight game where the Mavs have trailed after the first quarter, and they are 5-5 in those games. Also, the Mavs have been outscored on average 32.2-26 in the first quarter of the last 10 contests while allowing 30 or more points in eight of those games. . .The Mavs are 1-1 versus the Thunder this season. They defeated Oklahoma City, 87-78, in Dallas on March 3 behind 19 points and 13 rebounds from Porzingis. And they lost to the Thunder in OKC, 116-108, on March 11 in a game Doncic (right ankle, injury recovery) and Porzingis (right knee, injury recovery) both sat out in what was the second leg of a back-to-back.
About the Thunder: In Oklahoma City’s 116-108 victory over the Mavs on March 11, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 32 points and six assists, and Al Horford collected 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. But as Oklahoma City shifts to giving their younger players more playing time this year, Thunder officials have said the 34-year old Horford will be inactive for the rest of the season and the Thunder will attempt to trade him to a team of his choice during the offseason. . .OKC has lost four of its last six games, including last Wednesday to the Memphis Grizzlies (116-107) and Saturday to the Boston Celtics (111-94). The Thunder led the Celtics, 80-76, after the third quarter, but got outscored, 35-14, in the fourth . . .In the loss to the Grizzlies, 21-year old Moses Brown came off the bench to score 19 points, grab 12 rebounds, block three shots and collect two steals. And in the loss to the Celtics, Brown contributed a career-high 21 points and a franchise-tying 23 rebounds. He also pulled down 19 of those rebounds in the first half of that game, which is the most rebounds any member of the Thunder has ever grabbed in one half. A 7-2, 245-pound second-year center out of UCLA, Brown spent a part of the 2019-’20 season with the Texas Legends after he was assigned to play for the Frisco-based team by the Portland Trail Blazers. . .This is the third of a four-game home stand for the Thunder, who will host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday before opening a two-game road trip on Friday in Phoenix. . .OKC owns an 8-14 record at home, and an 11-17 record against Western Conference teams. The Thunder also have been outscored by their opponents by an average of 106.1 ppg to 112 ppg. That plus/minus ratio of -5.9 is the fifth worst in the entire NBA.