OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (14-20) AT MAVERICKS (17-16)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: This is the final game the Mavs will play before they pause for Sunday’s NBA All-Star game. After the All-Star break, the Mavs will open play with a back-to-backer on March 10 at home against the San Antonio Spurs and on March 11 at the Oklahoma City Thunder. . . The Mavs are easily experiencing their best time of the season. Since falling to 8-13 on Feb. 1 following a 109-108 home loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Mavs have erupted to win nine of their last 12 games (and eight of their last 10). . .The Mavs are 8-8 at home, but are 6-1 in their last seven games at American Airlines Center. . .Over the last 10 games, reserve guard Jalen Brunson has been a major player with averages of 14.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 3.2 apg while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range. Also, Brunson scored 24 points, snatched six rebounds and distributed three assists in 29 minutes during Monday’s 130-124 victory over the Orlando Magic. . .Point guard Luka Doncic will be headed to his second straight All-Star game – and he’ll be starting for the second straight time – on Sunday in Atlanta. Doncic also will be a participant in Sunday’s Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In Monday’s victory over the Magic, Doncic came up one assist shy of his eighth triple-double of the season as he finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Doncic, who turned 22 this past Sunday, is averaging 28.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 9.0 apg.
About the Thunder: Oklahoma City has fallen on hard times lately as it has lost five of its past eight games. But the Thunder should have very fresh legs as of now because the last time they played a game was Saturday when they were blown out at home by the Denver Nuggets, 126-96. . .The Thunder have the fifth-worst plus/minus in the NBA at -5.7. They are 27th in the league in scoring at 106.7 ppg, and 18th in points allowed at 112.4 ppg. . .Based on four games in particular, the Thunder have shown that they have tons of potential. OKC went to Brooklyn and defeated the Nets, 129-116, on Jan. 10, went to Portland and beat the Trail Blazers, 125-122, on Jan. 25, and went to Phoenix and upended the Suns, 102-97, on Jan. 27. Oklahoma City also owns a home victory over the Milwaukee Bucks – 114-109 on Feb. 14. . .The Thunder are led by the dynamic play of shooting guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 23.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 6.3 apg. In that victory over the Nets, Gilgeous-Alexander produced 31 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He also tallied a career-high 42 points during a 102-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 24, and added another 24 points in last Friday’s 118-108 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks. . .Also for the Thunder, Al Horford (14.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Luguentz Dort (12.5 ppg) and Darius Bazley (11.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg) have made some meaningful contributions.