OKC Thunder struggle in loss to Mavs

The Oklahoma City Thunder traveled down to Dallas to take on the Mavericks, and in this game, the Mavs were without superstar guard Luka Doncic. The Thunder were without George Hill and Hamidou Diallo and the two sides could not find any source of offense. Neither side had a 20 point scorer, a rare occurrence in 2021.

The Dallas Mavericks kept the Thunder at arm’s length, leading by roughly five points the entire game despite their 1-for-22 start from beyond the arc. When the Mavs started hitting three’s in the third frame, including a 4-for-5 stretch, they stretched out a commanding 20 point lead.

The Thunder could not even produce 80 points in this game, while the Mavs could not even push their point total to 90, winning this game 87-78.

In this game, both teams were ineffective with Oklahoma City shooting 33-percent from the floor, 23-percent from beyond the arc, and 64-percent from the line. Dallas shot a marginally better 38-percent from the floor, finished 8-for-40 from beyond the arc (20-percent), and capitalized at the line turning in a 15-for-19 night at the stripe.

Each team struggled in the turnover column, with OKC (13) having one more turnover than Dallas. The Thunder offense did have a huge bright spot off the bench in the form of Ty Jerome.

Jerome, in his 3 games with Oklahoma City, is averaging 12-points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. The second-year guard, who came over in the Chris Paul trade, is shooting 46-percent from beyond the arc. Jerome is also finishing strong at the rim, according to cleaning the glass, Jerome is 5-for-5 at the cylinder, including a nice finish in traffic against Dallas. Ty Jerome is shooting so effectively from three, without even taking a shot from the corner, the easiest three to hit. The 23-year-old has been awesome at spacing the floor for OKC in his short time here. In this game, Jerome poured in 13-points, while nailing three shots from beyond the arc.

Theo Maledon, while shooting 50-percent from the floor, did a great job of creating for himself and others despite just tallying one assist. The shot creation off the dribble for Maledon is something that if he can duplicate will take his game far.

Darius Bazley remained aggressive, I know the box score does not reflect how good he plays, but having the confidence back is going to go a long way for Bazley’s development. The second-year player earned a double-double as he scored 11 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Nine of those rebounds came on the defensive end, creating possessions for the Thunder which is extremely valuable. The 20-year-old also had a ton of “tip-rebounds” where he tips the miss to his teammates.

The Mavs did a great job defending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, which was a surprise considering the lack of defense Dallas has played all year, but SGA simply put it after the game to those of us in the media as “one of those nights.”

He is right, it was simply “one of those nights.” While the Thunder shot poorly at all three levels, rarely was the attempt not a good look. The Thunder attempted the shots they wanted to, quality shots even, and they just did not go in.

The Oklahoma City Thunder played like the third-grade class that knows they are just a few hours away from their class Christmas Party at the end of the semester. The only thing standing in the Thunder’s way of a much-needed All-Star Break is the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

Rylan Stiles

Rylan Stiles is the host of the Locked on Thunder podcast, a media member with the Thunder and the NBA, and Founder of BricktownBuckets.com.

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