Injury-plagued Dallas Mavericks short on players, score

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

WICHITA, Kan. -- Already without their two tallest players, the Dallas Mavericks got even shorter Wednesday night when 6-foot-10 center Brandan Wright sprained his left ankle during an 88-76 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Mavs were already trying to battle the defending Western Conference champions without 7-footers Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and Chris Kaman (calf). Shawn Marion and Vince Carter also didn't make the trip to INTRUST Bank Arena.

Thus, it was a tall order for the Mavs to overcome the Thunder, picked by many to win the NBA title. Wright's injury late in the third quarter with the Mavs down 61-53 didn't help.

"I just rolled it," said Wright, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds. "I think it'll be good, but I can't call it right now."

For the most part, the Mavs stayed within striking distance of an OKC squad that was 9-1 against Dallas last season, including a four-game sweep in the first round of the playoffs. Most of the Mavs' damage came thanks to rookie Jae Crowder, who had a game-high 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in 34 minutes.

"We were missing a few [players] today," Crowder said. "But there were still a lot of other guys here [who are] helping me out each and every day, so it's building my confidence."

Coach Rick Carlisle said he was more or less forced to run up Crowder's minutes.

"We just didn't have enough guys to get him out of the game," Carlisle said. "I like the way he plays and I like the way he played tonight.

"He does a lot of good things on the court. He's going to be a guy that's going to be an important guy for us."

Kevin Durant (18 points, seven rebounds), James Harden (16 points) and Serge Ibaka (15 points, seven rebounds) led the Thunder.

Despite falling to 3-4 in the preseason, the Mavs outscored OKC in fast-break points 23-14. But they lost the rebounding battle 51-40, although Dallas closed the gap after being outrebounded 30-14 in the opening half.

"Part of that was because Wright was out there to start the half, and that helped having more length," Carlisle said. "That's going to be an ongoing challenge for us and we've got to deal with it."

The Mavs, who shot 37.3 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers, left Wichita knowing they have to deal with another injury to an interior player.

"Obviously it'll be sore," said Wright, who earlier in training camp had a strained left quadriceps. "But I'll take it a day at a time."

Thunder impressive

Rick Carlisle knows a well-oiled machine when he sees it. And in the Thunder, he sees a team operating on all cylinders.

"There's a group of teams -- there's three or four of them that are really up there -- and this is one of the teams that's really up there," Carlisle said. "Not only do they have a high ability level in size and strength. But they've played together for many years, they're passing the ball better than they ever have, and those kinds of things make them one of the favorites out of the West."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Cleveland «4Final(10) | Box
Kansas City3Ballpark Replay
Kansas City «2Final | Box
Cleveland0
Baltimore0Final | Box
NY Yankees «5
Seattle4Final | Box
Toronto «14
Chicago WSox «2Final | Box
Detroit0
Pittsburgh «1Final | Box
Atlanta0
St. Louis «8Final | Box
Chicago Cubs0
Houston3Final | Box
Texas «4
Arizona «6Final | Box
Minnesota2
LA Angels4Final | Box
Oakland «8
San Francisco3Top 13th | Box
Los Angeles2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, SportsNet LA, MLB
Colorado0Final | Box
San Diego «1
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Ottawa2Final | Box
NY Islanders «3
Ottawa 9/22 6:00 PM ET
NY Islanders 
Toronto «3Final(SO) | Box
Philadelphia2
Washington4Final | Box
Philadelphia «5
New Jersey «5Final | Box
NY Rangers4
Detroit «2Final | Box
Pittsburgh1
Minnesota1Final | Box
Winnipeg «2
St. Louis3Final | Box
Dallas «4
Anaheim «5Final | Box
Colorado2
Los Angeles4Final(SO) | Box
Arizona «5
Colorado0Final | Box
Anaheim «4
Arizona3Final(SO) | Box
Los Angeles «4
Full Scoreboard