The Dallas Mavericks hit the halfway point of the season in a rough way as they moved to 1-8 in overtime games this season. Dallas suffered a 117-114 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City. The win gave the Thunder a league-best six-game winning streak. The loss put an end to the Mavericks’ season-best four-game winning streak. Kevin Durant scored a career-high 52 points, including nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, in the victory over the Mavericks.
Vince Carter tallied a team-high 29 points in 32 minutes. It was the most points he’s scored as a Maverick, previous high: 25 vs. New York Nov. 21, 2012. He led Dallas in scoring for the fifth time this season. It marked his fourth 20-point effort of the year. It was also his sixth game with at least four 3-pointers this season. Carter had only one game with four-plus triples last year.
Dirk Nowitzki started the game 1-of-11 from the field. He finished the game scoring 18 points on only 5-of-19 shooting from the floor. Darren Collison went 4-for-6 from the field before the break en route to 11 first-half points. He finished with 15 points to go along with four rebounds, six assists and three steals in 31 minutes. Collison scored in double figures for the 14th consecutive game. He once again sat on the bench during the final minutes of regulation and overtime in favor of Mike James.
With the Thunder up 116-114, Mike James had a mismatch with Kendrick Perkins and Dirk Nowitzki was being guarded by Russell Westbrook with less than 10 seconds to go in the game. James hoisted and missed a 26-foot jumper over an outstretched Perkins. That will be a play that will be dissected for the next day and a half.
Here is the quoteboard for overtime loss to the Thunder.
The Mavericks: “Dallas still has the heart of a champion. Their coach is an unbelievable coach.”
Why do you think the Mavericks were able to hang in there with you tonight? “Well, everybody is going to play us well – everybody. They’ve got a championship level coach, players; they’ve got some tough guys. Everybody stepped up for them; Mike James hit a tough shot, Dirk of course hit some big shots and some free throws, O.J. Mayo (hit some big shots), so they’ve got guys that are big game players. And no matter what if you’re on the road, no matter who you’re playing against in a tough environment, it’s always tough to get a win and I’m glad we did that.”
The final offensive possession: “The play blew up and Mike (James) ended up with it and it was unfair to him. It was a play that didn’t work and it was my responsibility. They guarded it well. It’s my fault.”
The performance of his team: “I thought it was spotty. I thought we had good bursts, but our consistency wasn’t where it needed to be to beat a good team start to finish.”
The downfall of the game: “The second chance points just accumulated during the game. …That was one of the thing we couldn’t overcome.”
The rebounding issue: “Sometimes it’s concentration, sometimes we face a team that’s more athletic and bigger and that can be an issue. We just have to stick with it. We’ve had nights that we’ve done a good job…Sometimes it’s rotation and you lose contact with the big bodies. Sometimes there are easy put-backs or your defense has lost a step.”
On Kevin Durant: “He’s the best offensive player on the planet. I don’t think there’s any question about that. There are some things that we obviously could have done to limit him. That’s on me too.”
On Vince Carter’s performance: “We wouldn’t have been in this without him. He hit timely shots throughout the game. …We just couldn’t get it done. We couldn’t close it.”
On playing Mike James over Darren Collison in crunch time for the second straight game: “It’s a coach’s decision. It’ll be game to game. That’s basically it.”
Again on the final shot: “When something like that happens at the end of the game, that’s on the coach. I take responsibility for that.”
On his final shot: “I just made the wrong the decision. I had a big on me and I have to understand the situation. I have to attack and I didn’t. I had hit a few shots so I felt like it was a good shot but it’s only a good shot if you make it. I didn’t make the right play and that’s what it’s about is making the right play, especially at the end of the game.”
On if you were happy with the way he played: “No, not at all because it doesn’t matter how you play if you lose the game. The focus is playing the game the right way and doing the things to help the team win. Regardless of what I did tonight it’s about winning games and I didn’t do my job.”
On the defense: “It’s hard to beat any team when it seems like you’re playing five against eight. He hit some tough shots.”
On 21 free throws for Durant: “That’s nuts. Some fouls are fouls but some of them are questionable. It is what it is. You can sit here and harp on the fouls. We had opportunities to take this game.”
On Durant’s game-winner: “That was a tough shot.”
On sitting at the end: “It’s coach’s decision. …I’m a team player. He made the call and that’s something you’ve got to ride with.”
On the vibe after a tough loss: “Our confidence is still there. We’re starting to get our groove going. We’re not going to let this one game affect us. We’re playing good basketball.”
The state of the team after 41 games: “We’re continuing to grow right now. That’s a good thing. We’ve just got to look forward to Orlando’s game and get that one and start a new streak.”
His performance: “I’m just trying to do my part more than anything. …I just want to do whatever I need to do for this team.”
On Durant’s performance: “He’s hard to guard one on one. You just have to try to put a body on him to make it tough. …He was rolling. You can’t take anything away from him.”
On the Thunder’s defensive stand that led to James’ shot: “It’s a good play on their part. They hit us with something we weren’t ready for and Mike got stuck on top. He had to make something happen. I actually thought he got a good shot up. …He made the best of it and it didn’t go in.”
On Durant’s game: “He had 52, but I thought we guarded him as well you can guard someone who had 52. …You can’t give a good player 21 free throws.”
Where the team is at with the halfway point now here: “I like the fight we’ve got in us. I don’t think we’ll ever give up. …I think we’ve improved tremendously. We’ve still got another gear to go to and we’ll keep pushing.”
On his rough start: “I’ve got to keep on working. I don’t know what else to say. I had some great looks there in the first half. It’s almost a tragedy that they didn’t go in.”
On Carlisle’s tough love on Collison: “I’m actually proud of how he responds. Coach has been very hard on him and OJ…It’s hard.”
On the improved play of Collison and Mayo: “I think Darren is a guy that’s going to keep working. …I’m proud of (Mayo and Collison).”
Summing up the loss: “You still don’t lose the game on one play. There’s a million plays that could’ve gone either way. We just fell short.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.