Final: Mavs 97, Thunder 81
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.
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.
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.
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.