Thunder End 2017 With A Loss To Dallas
By: A. Suave Francisco
A thriller wasn't anticipated in Oklahoma City on New Year's Eve, but that's exactly what Thunder fans received to kick off an exciting and eventful night.
The now (13-25) Dallas Mavericks gave Oklahoma City all they could handle in the Chesapeake Energy Arena, edging out a narrow victory over the home team, 116-113.
The common denominator in this loss was the lack of defense. Giving up 116 points to a team that only averages 100 points per game isn't a recipe for a victory. Andre Roberson, OKC's best on-ball defender sat out due to a knee injury and that made the difference. Dallas' Harrison Barnes scored 24 points on 66.6 percent shooting and if Roberson was healthy, he would've been Barnes primary defender.
Dallas played the best game they could play. They shot 51.7 percent for the game and 44.1 percent from long-distance. Also, they only committed seven turnovers and played very attentive basketball, which was a problem for OKC.
Even with all those defensive issues, the Thunder had ample opportunity to pull out a victory, based on the simple fact that the Mavs don't match up to OKC's talent level. Dennis Smith Jr. scored 19 points, most of which came in the final quarter and Oklahoma City had no answer. Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points in the first half but his offensive game stalled in the second half, scoring just five more points.
Officiating was questionable once again but that wasn't the reason the Thunder lost their second straight game. Defensive letdowns throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter, and lack of execution down the stretch killed Oklahoma City on New Year's Eve. The Thunder end the 2017 portion of their season with a (20-16) record. They will have a couple days off before they travel to the west coast for a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers in a back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday.