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The Dallas Mavericks hit the shots down the stretch and the Oklahoma City Thunder did not. That became the different in a 116-113 loss for the Thunder on New Year’s Eve.

Russell Westbrook finished with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season but it wasn’t enough as the Thunder only shot 45 percent in the second half.

The Mavericks now own the NBA’s longest winning streak at four games. After starting 2-13 this season, Dallas is 11-12 since.

Harrison Barnes scored 24 to lead the Mavericks.

Dallas built a five-point lead out of the start in the second that’s when Paul George and Carmelo Anthony flexed their basketball muscles. The two had a one-two punch the Mavericks couldn’t handle. George, especially, gave Oklahoma City a nice boost that it missed in its loss to Milwaukee as he was out due to injury.

Paul George scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony had 21 points for the Thunder, going 8-of-14 from deep. Despite their hot shooting, Westbrook took the big shots late for the Thunder and missed a trio of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds. He was 0-of-44 from deep for the game, including 0-of-3 in the final four minutes of the game.

Oklahoma City fell to 20-16 on the season and now have dropped back-to-back games since the end of November.

While the Dallas Mavericks, more specifically JJ Barea did their thing, taking as many as an six-point lead in the first half, the Thunder never quit.

Paul George (12) and Carmelo Anthony (11) combined for 23 of the Thunder’s 31 points in the second quarter.

A raining of threes in the second quarter saw the Thunder outscore Dallas 27-15 down the stretch.

Oklahoma City led Dallas 63-57 at the break.

With the Thunder playing without Andre Roberson, the Thunder started Josh Huetsis. While Huestis wasn’t an offensive juggarnaut, his ability was seen on the defensive side. His plus…. was relatively nice.

George hit another three coming out of halftime as the Thunder opened up a six-point lead, tying their largest with 9:52 left in the third quarter.

Devin Harris hit a wide open three to tie the game at 75-all with 5:33 left in the third quarter. It really started a run for the Mavericks. Dallas went on a 12-4 run to take an 82-77 lead with 2:48 left in the third.

Raymond Felton was clutch off the bench for the Thunder as they built an 89-84 lead right out of the start of the fourth quarter. A Dirk Notiwzki three-pointer would tie the game at 89-all.

Wesley Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr. hit back-to-back threes as the Thunder were doing their best comeback on the back of Westbrook. Smith Jr. hit a three with 1:18 left, putting Dallas up 111-108.

Anthony hit two free throws, cutting the Maverick’s lead to 111-110 with 37.9 seconds left in regulation.

After Paul George was fouled, multiple Westbrook three-pointers couldn’t fall as the Thunder fell.

George went surprisingly invisible in the second half, only going 1-of-2 from the floor in 15 minutes. He was 5-of-10 in the first half as the Thunder were able to build the lead.

Oklahoma City will now go on a West Coast road trip. They’ll play at the Lakers and the Clippers on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Then, they’ll travel to the desert to play Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.

Keys to the Game

Lawler’s Law: F

Dallas hit 100 first and that gives them the momentum. Dallas had the lead from there on out and never relinquished the lead. Oklahoma City owns more comebacks on Lawler’s Law (58) than the rest of the NBA but tonight wasn’t their night.

Force turnovers: F

Oklahoma City only forced eight turnovers. EIGHT. The Thunder cannot win games when they only allow eight turnovers. George and Westbrook, two of the NBA’s best in steals, only had one steal a piece tonight. That’s not how you win.

Rebound: C

Oklahoma City may have out rebounded the Mavericks, it was their offensive rebounds that killed Oklahoma City. Their eight offensive boards turned into 16 points. That’s a 2.0 points per possession, which is near perfect. That’s really killer even if you win the rebounding battle.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.