Mavs have shot, but let Thunder off hook

Posted Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- At least the Dallas Mavericks found out who their starting point guard is in the coming games.

Now if only they can find out how to win some basketball games.

At the cusp of knocking off one of the NBA's elite teams Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Mavericks crumbled again down the stretch and wound up losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-105 in overtime.

It was the seventh loss for the Mavericks in the past eight games, including the last four.

The Mavericks slipped to 0-5 in overtime games this season, and it is the first time since the 2008-09 season that the Mavs (12-17) have been five games under .500.

Overall, the Mavs wasted a terrific game by Darren Collison, who started at point guard and finished with a season-high 32 points, four assists and four steals while outplaying Olympian Russell Westbrook. But Collison was not about to boast about any personal achievements, not with the Mavericks slipping further down the Western Conference ladder.

"I don't see anything good out of it. We lost the game," Collison said. "Regardless of how I play, it don't mean nothing if we don't win the game. It's good that I was attacking, but that's how I've always been. I've always been about wins and losses, and we didn't win the game, so we've got to bounce back and get ready for [tonight]."

Collison sent the game into overtime by drilling a wild 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 98. But in the overtime, the Mavs made nearly every mental mistake possible.

A bucket by Shawn Marion and another by Chris Kaman gave the Mavs a 104-101 lead with 2:40 left in overtime. But the Thunder (22-6) finished the game on a 10-1 run and escaped with the win on a night Dirk Nowitzki played 26 minutes off the bench and was 3-of-11 from the field with nine points.

"Any loss hurts right now," said Marion, who collected 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "We keep bleeding and bleeding. [Tonight] we've got to go home and try and stop the bleeding."

Westbrook hit consecutive baskets to put the Thunder up for good at 105-104 with 1:04 remaining. Then, after a turnover by O.J. Mayo, Westbrook scored again to pad the Thunder's lead to 107-104.

Mayo had a chanced to make amends after he drew a foul from Kevin Martin while attempting a 3-pointer with 33.3 seconds left. But Mayo missed two free throws.

"They made some plays and we made some mistakes," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were still right there. When we needed one stop, we couldn't get it. When we needed one rebound we couldn't get it. When we needed one score we just couldn't get it, and that's the way this league is."

The Mavs led 29-21 after the first period, thanks to 14 points by Collison. But Kevin Durant (40 points) and Ibaka (19 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks) helped the Thunder stay within 45-43 of the Mavericks at the half.

However, the Mavericks, who host Denver at 7:30 tonight, still led 89-79 with a little over eight minutes remaining in regulation. But they just couldn't get a key rebound or basket when the opportunity presented itself.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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