It was a thrilling finish to 2017 as the Dallas Mavericks closed the year on a winning note with a 116-113 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Dennis Smith Jr. broke out with an eye-catching performance. Smith Jr. totaled 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. The rookie point guard cemented the victory by scoring the Mavs’ last 11 points, including a pair of back-to-back three-point baskets with less than two minutes to play.
"It might have been around the 5-minute mark or somewhere around there that I realized it was time for me to get it going."
Dennis Smith Jr scored 11 of his 19 PTS in the final 1:39 of the 4th quarter in a win against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. pic.twitter.com/SfyzhJL3QQ
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 1, 2018
Smith Jr. wasn’t the only Maverick to find his offensive rhythm. Harrison Barnes led the team with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 shooting from three-point range. Dirk Nowitzki also crept into double-digits with 13 points in the win on 6-for-12 shooting from the field.
Four Dallas players finished with double-digit point totals, but all 10 players that appeared in the win scored at least 6 points.
Point guard J.J. Barea had the most impressive performance off the bench, flirting with a triple-double in the end. The 6-foot guard amassed 12 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds while helping steer his team to victory.
Barea and Smith Jr.’s impressive performances in Oklahoma City were well-timed. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook registered a triple-double in the loss with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Thunder teammates Paul George (25 points) and Carmelo Anthony (21 points) each shot over 50 percent from the field.
Oklahoma City’s three core offensive players found success offensively. But a lack of production from the remainder of the roster coupled with the Mavs offensive success made this game a last-possession finish.
A key to success for Dallas appears to be shooting over 50 percent from the field. The Mavs shot 51.7 percent from the field in their back-and-forth with Oklahoma City. Against the second-best team in terms of forcing opposing turnovers (OKC, 15.8 per game), Dallas turned the basketball over just eight times. The Mavs also assisted on eight more baskets than the Thunder, leading to more efficient scoring.
Dallas returns to action at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to host Golden State from American Airlines Center.
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