Big Run Propels Thunder Past Dallas
By Randy Renner
Things were a bit different for the Thunder in their third pre-season game.
Instead of being in cruise control in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks the Thunder found themselves in a back-and-forth slugfest, down 82-79 with 8:29 to play.
The next five minutes and change changed the game. The Thunder jetted off on a 19-2 run started by a Dion Waiters conventional 3-point play and ending on an Anthony Morrow jumper with 3:13 left that gave OKC a 98-84 advantage leading to a 100-88 win.
"I think those bursts also started with when we got stops," head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. "I think the biggest thing to look at, especially in the second half, was I thought the team collectively played really good defense."
The offense sputtered at times and Donovan wasn't happy with his players taking shots a bit too early in the shot clock. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka combined to go just 4-for-16 (10 points) with all of the makes and points belonging to Durant, Ibaka was 0-for-4.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting but he only got to the line for a couple of free throws, making both. Enes Kanter was very productive again on the offensive end, scoring 17 points in just 20 minutes on 7-for-11. He also pulled down 11 rebounds, five of those coming off the offensive glass to extend possessions.
Kanter left the game in the fourth quarter with what he said was a mild ankle sprain.
“Not too bad,” he said after walking into the locker room with a slight limp. “I’ve had sprains before, it’s not too bad.”
The Thunder also got 10 points from both Waiters and Morrow and eight points from rookie point guard Cameron Payne who dropped in a couple of threes.
Overall the Thunder had control of the arc, hitting 52.4 percent of their own shots (11-for-21) even Mitch McGary knocked down another long ball from the corner, while holding the Mavericks to just 18.2 percent (4-for-22).
The Thunder also held the Mavericks to just 38.8 percent shooting overall though Dallas played the game without seven of their regulars including Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons.
Oklahoma City is now 3-0 in the pre-season and will play the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday and that's a game you can probably anticipate seeing some of the Thunder's main players take a rest before coming back to Chesapeake Energy Arena for a Sunday game against Denver.