Oklahoma City Thunder: Mavericks needed help from basketball gods

Dallas has been victimized by some horrendous officiating in the closing seconds of a few games, but Monday night's contest against the Thunder was too far gone for a few bad breaks to matter.
By John Rohde Published: February 4, 2013


photo - Oklahoma City's Nick Collison (4) defends Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Nick Collison (4) defends Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

*In 2018, the selection becomes unprotected, which means the Thunder will receive the Raptors' selection regardless of where it is, if it hasn't already been awarded from 2013-17.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks' first-round pick becomes unprotected in 2014, which means it would belong to OKC with no parameters.

Translation: The Thunder took one more step Monday toward the Mavs' unprotected pick in the 2014 Draft.

The world champion Mavericks of two years ago have been gutted. Gone are Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, J.J. Barea and Corey Brewer. Only Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and seldom-used Rodrigue Beaubois remain.

On Monday, the Mavs also were missing starting center Chris Kaman (concussion) and top reserve Vince Carter (illness).

Their presence probably wouldn't have mattered the way OKC took care of the ball (11 turnovers) and excelled defensively.

The Thunder scored 23 points off 14 Mavs turnovers, including 17 points by intermission when OKC led 68-44, a season-high total for a half.

“You put these guys on the open floor with catastrophic turnovers, they're going to make you look bad,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said afterward. “I think that was it, more than anything.”

Marion led the Mavs with 23 points and shot 10 for 14 from the field. Take away Marion, and Dallas shot 26 for 73 (.356). Nowitzki, who missed the two previous games with a strained right thigh muscle, finished with 10 points and shot 3 for 11 from the floor.

“They had, like, 17 points on turnovers (in the first half), right?” Marion said. “That sewed up the game and then we're playing catch-up the rest of the way.”

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