Dallas edges past Thunder in Old West shootout

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Thunder forward Enes Kanter battles with Dallas' Tyson Chandler for a rebound during Wednesday's game.
Anthony Morrow attempts a shot against the Mavs. Morrow finished with a season-high 32 points, including six treys.
Russell Westbrook scores two of his 31 points on a layup as Dallas' Al-Farouq Aminu defends. Westbrook also had 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Oklahoma City's Dion Waiters dribbles toward the basket against Dallas. Waiters scored 19 points and dished out four assists.
Oklahoma City's Kyle Singler and Dallas' Chandler Parsons battle for the ball.

By Tim Farley

Some of Oklahoma City’s best defensive players weren’t on the court or in uniform Wednesday night as the Dallas Mavericks snuck past the Thunder in an Old West shootout, 135-131, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The combined 266 points was the most by Oklahoma City and an opponent during a regulation game in Thunder history.

“We didn’t get enough stops,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “It was a great offensive game for both teams. This was an opportunity to get better defensively and we didn’t. We didn’t get the stop when they were needed and that was throughout the game. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”

Dallas (46-29), with a solid hold on the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference, shot an amazing 61 percent from the field, hitting 56 of 91 shots.

“This was a huge win,” Dallas center Tyson Chandler said. “Almost, a must win especially with them in the eighth seed sitting right behind us. It was one that we definitely needed to get.”

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle called the shot-making “breathtaking.”

“The defense was probably better than what the numbers indicate, but when you get two teams that desperately want to win a game like this, in this kind of environment, special things happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City (42-33) shot a respectable 48 percent, including 14 of 31 from behind the arc. The Thunder, with seven games remaining, is in the eighth playoff spot, two games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans.

“We scored plenty enough to get the win on our home floor. It was a great offensive game from both sides. It was a lot of threes, a lot of attacks on the basket, a lot of free throws and not a lot of stops,” Brooks said a second time.

Although he could have made several excuses, Brooks didn’t go that direction in his post-game press conference. Still, Oklahoma City isn’t the same defensive team when Kevin Durant and shot-blocker extraordinaire Serge Ibaka are out of the lineup. Defensive ace Andre Roberson and reliable veteran Nick Collison also are out with injuries.

Going with the players who are healthy, Brooks said there is “no room for error. Every game is critical.”

Both teams gave up more than 30 points in three of the four quarters with Dallas leading 66-63 at halftime. The Mavs outscored Oklahoma City 69-68 in the final two quarters.

Oklahoma City’s lack of defense was evident by the 72 points Dallas scored in the paint with short-range shots. Dallas’ five starters and two bench players scored in double figures. Monta Ellis was the leading scorer with 26 points followed by Chandler Parsons with 22.

Points were plentiful for Oklahoma City as well with three players scoring 30 or more. Russell Westbrook earned his 10th triple-double of the season with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Enes Kanter tallied 30 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds while three-point ace Anthony Morrow notched 32 points on 11 of 16 shots, including six of nine from behind the arc.

Still, losing the game had more impact on Enes and Morrow than their offensive showings.

“We have to keep working,” Morrow said. “I mean it’s not the worst thing in the world. We did some good stuff down the stretch, but they just shot 62 percent.”

Said Enes: “It definitely was really tough on us because we are trying to push. We are playing for something. We are trying to get a playoff spot, but we cannot just sit here and worry about it. We have a game Friday in Memphis and it is going to be tough, too. They are not going to feel sorry for us. We just have to come out and play.”

Oklahoma City eliminated the three-point deficit quickly in the third quarter and took a 10-point advantage. However, the hot-handed Mavs battled back to tie the game at 101-101 at the end of the quarter.

The Mavs scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter and then held a 113-103 lead with 8:31 left in the game. Oklahoma City rallied, finally tying the Mavs at 119-119 on a Westbrook jumper with 4:16 remaining. The two teams swapped baskets until Parsons hit a layup with 1:45 left, putting Dallas ahead, 130-129. Parsons hit a 16-foot turnaround jumper with 13 seconds left, giving the Mavs a three-point lead, 134-131. Westbrook attempted two desperation three-point shots in the final seven seconds with both falling short of the mark.

GAME NOTES: The Thunder grabbed more rebounds than Dallas, 46-34, including 15 offensive caroms. Dallas outscored Oklahoma City in fast break points, 16-14…The game was tied 12 times to go with eight lead changes…For the first time this season, Oklahoma City had three players score 30 or more points in a game.

 

 

 

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