DALLAS — Volume beat efficiency Monday night, and the the more-efficient Thunder was buried by the Mavericks’ 3-point barrage.
Dallas attempted 54 3-pointers on their way to a 121-114 win at American Airlines Center. It tied a single-game record for most 3-point attempts by a Thunder opponent.
The Mavs made 22 of those 54 (41%) — outscoring the Thunder (10-of-31) 66-30 from behind the arc. Dallas made five more 3-pointers than it did 2-pointers.
Dallas shot 10-of-16 from 3-point range in the second quarter, and the Mavericks rode that 43-24 second-quarter difference until the end.
“Any stretch of the game can beat you,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “We just couldn’t stop the bleeding in the second quarter enough to keep it reigned in.”
Overall, the Thunder shot 48% to the Mavericks’ 42%.
The Mavericks came into the game averaging 41.1 3-pointers per game, behind only the Warriors and Celtics, so it’s not like the Thunder was surprised by the long-range attack.
Four Mavericks — Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-of-14), Luka Doncic (3-of-10), Spencer Dinwiddie (4-of-8) and Dorian Finney-Smith (3-of-8) — combined to shoot 40 3-pointers.
Dinwiddie hit the backbreaker.
With the Mavericks leading 108-101 midway through the fourth quarter, Dinwiddie heaved a 28-footer to beat the shot clock by a hair. It banked in, giving Dallas a 10-point lead.
The Mavericks were careless in the final minute, leading to a pair of Thunder dunks that cut the margin to six, but Dallas hung on — something the Mavericks didn’t do in an historic collapse to the Thunder in late October.
Fans who showed up to see the stars got what they wanted: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic were magnificent.
Gilgeous-Alexander tied his career-high with 42 points on 14-of-23 shooting. He was a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line.
The Mavericks packed the paint against SGA, but it didn’t matter. The Thunder superstar not only scored, but he scored with extreme efficiency.
“I had a few possessions where I made a wrong decision, whether to shoot or pass,” SGA said, critiquing his game.
It was the third 42-point game of his career. Two of those three have come this season.
Doncic, who demands as much attention as SGA, scored 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting. He had the more well-rounded game with 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The Mavericks’ offensive game plan was rather simple.
Doncic would drive, attract defenders, and then kick out to 3-point shooters. Either that or he would drive and create for himself. He’s the most ball-dominant player in the NBA, and for good reason.
“They’re so good at spacing for him,” Thunder guard Josh Giddey said, “and he’s so good at finding them.”
The Mavericks aren’t an easy watch, though, with Doncic pouting and pleading his case to the officials on just about every possession. He was assessed a technical two minutes into the third quarter.
“We’re not here for the Doncic MVP game,” Daigneault told official JB DeRosa in the first quarter, trying to set the tone for how the game would be called.
In the end, SGA had a three-free throw edge over Doncic.
The Mavericks are in constant pursuit of a second star to pair with Doncic.
Maybe they should ask the Thunder about Isaiah Joe with the way Joe shoots it at American Airlines Center.
You remember Joe’s first game in Dallas. He shot 3-of-3 from deep and was a plus-24 in his nine fourth quarter and overtime minutes. He was the fuel behind the Thunder’s remarkable comeback.
Daigneault didn’t wait until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to play Joe on Monday. Joe led the Thunder’s bench with 21 minutes.
The former Arkansas Razorback shot 4-of-7 from 3-point range and he grabbed a season-high seven rebounds.
“Not really,” Joe said, when asked if he had deja vu. “I was just trying to be in the present moment.”
In two games at Dallas, Joe is 7-of-10 from 3-point range and a plus-35 in 30 minutes.
There’s bad news for Joe, though. The Thunder is done playing in Dallas this season.
Aussies in Dallas
A group of 40 Australian NBA fans packed a section in the lower bowl during pregame warm-ups.
They weren’t in Dallas to see Giddey — although that was an added bonus — but rather to take in one last NBA game before the end of their three-week trip to the US
The trip, a basketball fans’ dream, was organized by former Mavericks center Chris Anstey. Anstey, like Giddey, is from Melbourne, and he played with Giddey’s dad, Warrick, in Australia’s NBL.
The idea started about a year ago with a social media post. Anstey was trying to see if any Australians would be interested in taking a group trip to the US to get a behind-the-scenes look at the NBA.
“We weren’t sure if anyone would even want to come, but we had hundreds of applicants,” Anstey told The Oklahoman. “It’s something we hope to do one or two times a season moving forward.”
The group mainly stayed in Dallas, where they went to a few Mavericks games, but also made trips to the TD Garden in Boston and Madison Square Garden in New York.
They toured practice facilities and even met with front office personnel, a perk made possible by Anstey’s NBA connections.
The group brought strangers together who “share a love of basketball,” Anstey said.
It just so happened that their last game on the trip featured the Thunder, led in part by an Aussie guard.
“Australians absolutely adore him back home,” said Nathan Goodall, who was on the trip. “He’s an absolute statesman of the game.”
Giddey scored 14 points with five rebounds and four assists.
“Means the world to me,” Giddey said of having the support of Australians.
• Rookies Ousmane Dieng and Jaylin Williams were on assignment with the G League OKC Blue. Two-way player Lindy Waters III was also with the Blue.
• It was Dallas’ third game in four nights. The Mavericks lost at home to Milwaukee on Friday and lost again Saturday at Chicago.
• Kidd said SGA has added a DeRozan pump fake to his game. DeMar DeRozan has one of the best shot fakes in the league, and Gilgeous-Alexander has adopted his own shot to get defenders in the air and draw fouls.
• The Thunder started Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey, Dort, Jalen Williams and Aleksej Pokusevski. It was the group’s fifth start.
• That’s Jalen Williams of Santa Clara. The Mavericks’ PA announcer said “from the University of Arkansas, Jaylin Williams.” Arkansas Williams wasn’t in the arena.
• Daigneault called an early timeout between Doncic free throws, just 1:54 into the game.
• The Mavericks sprinted to a 12-0 lead, but the Thunder outscored them 28-11 from that point on in the first quarter.
• Josh Green (right elbow sprain) and Davis Bertans (non-COVID illness) were out for the Mavs.
• The Thunder ended its season-long five-game road trip 2-3.