OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Dallas Mavericks can’t win in the playoffs on nights when their bench gets outplayed.
Feel free to use Monday night’s 102-99 loss in Game 2 of the Mavs’ Western Conference quarterfinal against Oklahoma City as evidence.
The Mavs expect James Harden to score 15 points with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. They don’t expect Derek Fisher to score 11 first-half points on five of six shooting and help the Thunder build a 16-point lead.
Terry made five of 12 shots, but the Mavs were outscored by 17 points, when he was on the court. Carter was-2 of-9 from the field and the Mavs were outscored by 12 points when he was on the court.
Terry and Carter are supposed to be two of the Mavs’ assets, players who relieve some of the offensive burden from Dirk Nowitzki.
Ian Mahinmi gave the Mavs a strong effort off the bench with nine points and five rebounds, but it was offset by his five fouls, which limited his playing time, and Brendan Haywood’s ineffective performance.
Haywood, benched to start the second half, had two points and no rebounds in 10 minutes.
The bench must improve. The series won’t last much longer if it doesn’t
Here are three more areas of interest heading into Tuesday's day of rest:
1. Catastrophic turnovers: You could say the Mavs lost this game during a seven-minute stretch spanning the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter, when Oklahoma City turned a 24-23 deficit into a 46-30 lead. They did it by converting a plethora of Mavs’ turnovers into transition baskets. Oklahoma City turned 16 turnovers into 21 points. No way the Mavs can win like that because Oklahoma City is a younger, faster and quicker team. Letting them score in transition, especially considering the haphazard nature of their half-court offense is disastrous.
2. Containing Kevin Durant: Shawn Marion has done a phenomenal job guarding Durant by contesting every shot he takes and making it tough for him to get to his sweet spots on the court. Durant was only 5-of-17 in Game 2 but still scored 26 points because he made 14 of 16 free throws. Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, has made only 15 of 44 shots in the series. It’s a testament to his skill level that he’s still getting his points, but imagine what trouble the Mavs will have on the night he goes off -- and he will have at least one good shooting night in this series.
3. X-Factors are no factors: Based on the regular season, there was plenty of reason to believe Brandan Wright or Rodrigue Beaubois could have an impact on the Mavs’ series with Oklahoma City. Well, it hasn’t happened and there’s no indication it will. They played a combined 10 minutes -- five each -- and totaled one point and one rebound.