The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Thunder

Final: Mavs 97, Thunder 81

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavericks allowed just 37 points in the first half, the fewest they surrendered in the opening act all season. They held teams to 37 or less six times last season.

Dallas extended its streak of winning third quarters to four games in this one, outscoring OKC 26-18 in the frame. The Mavs won the previous three by nine, 12, and most recently 19 points. It’s so much easier to start closing the door on a win — or erasing a huge halftime deficit, as was the case on Wednesday — when you can stay positive in the penultimate frame.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 19 points in this one.

Notebook

  • Harrison Barnes is a much more patient scorer this season, and that’s been a big reason for his success lately. When combined with anticipation and a feel for the game, playing at a more comfortable speed allows Barnes to score buckets like this, where he sees the baseline double-team coming and goes up for a shot-fake without traveling or panicking.

    Much has been written about his ability to get to the free throw line more often this season, too, and the next play is a great example of some of the tricks he’s picked up to allow that to happen.

    Barnes worked his smaller, lighter defender down into the paint and turned around for a shot fake. He fooled his man, but he didn’t fool Steven Adams — with the first one, at least. There were only about six seconds left on the shot clock and Barnes had picked up his dribble, but he stuck with the play and pump-faked again, and this time Adams bit. That was all Barnes needed to get to the line. That’s a really simple play that wouldn’t have been possible had Barnes rushed the shot or not felt the second defender coming. He’s turning into a really, really good scorer.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. basically owns the Mavericks’ all-time teenager record book. We’ll all have to set that stuff in stone, though, as today the rook turned 20 years old. So begins his 365-day quest to top Dirk’s numbers. That’s for another discussion, though. This was Smith’s second matchup with Russell Westbrook, and unlike the previous meeting, this time around Smith was tasked with the responsibility of guarding the reigning MVP for the majority of time he was on the floor. Once can imagine how tough it must be to try staying in front of that guy, but tonight Smith did his best and for the most part kept Westbrook on the outside. That didn’t stop him from breaking 25, but that’s what the best players always do. Smith overcame two early fouls in the first quarter to score 15 on his birthday — and score a win, which for him is the best part.

  • Rick Carlisle is always a really entertaining guy to watch on the sideline. He can be animated when calling a timeout, he sometimes walks very far onto the floor to call a play, and he always becomes very familiar with the officiating crew. Watch here as Carlisle buddies up with the nearest official and then shares his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony’s footwork.

    Melo certainly dragged his pivot foot, and Carlisle made sure the refs were on top of it. They might have been anyway, but it never hurts to reinforce the point. His applause after the call made it even better.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (5-15) will play the San Antonio Spurs (12-7) on Monday at the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.