Final: Thunder 112, Mavs 99
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Harrison Barnes finished with 13 rebounds in this one, a night after grabbing 12 against Cleveland. This was the first time in his career he’s recorded consecutive 12-rebound performances.
Dennis Smith Jr. was coming off a stretch of back-to-back games with at least seven assists and two turnovers or fewer, but tonight he committed five giveaways. Playing point guard is never easy, but doing it for two nights in a row is like jumping from learning your times tables to solving a quadratic equation. Aside from the physical rigors of playing the game, there’s a lot of mental exhaustion involved too, and you wonder if that may have played a role in Smith being a little looser with the ball tonight. The Mavs will have a day off tomorrow, though, so hopefully he and the team can regroup and come back sharper on Tuesday night.
Harrison Barnes is becoming a consistent scorer again, now with 20-plus-points in four of his last five games, the lone exception being a 17-point outing. For this team to win games, Barnes has got to score a lot, and score it efficiently. The team result obviously wasn’t there tonight, but Barnes scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including connecting on two of his four 3-point attempts. This team’s foundation at the moment is clearly Barnes and Smith, so those are the two guys who must consistently bring it on a nightly basis. Barnes has been at that point, and Smith is starting to get there.
Smith has done a terrific job for the most part with avoiding frustration when he attacks the basket and takes contact but doesn’t get a call. He drives almost 13 times per game, per SportVU, but earns just 1.8 free throw attempts per game off those drives. He takes plenty of contact in those situations but usually just doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. As he continues to attack, though, he’ll earn more whistles. The key in the meantime, though, is to continue to be aggressive. He did that tonight, attacking the lane 15 times, but he got rewarded with only one free throw attempt.
The Mavs (2-12) will play the San Antonio Spurs (8-5) on Tuesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.