Thunder rally comes up short vs. Mavs

Parsons going in

The star power behind the Dallas Mavericks proved to be too much for Russell Westbrook to handle.

The Mavericks squeezed out a 119-115 win on Monday night, rallying back from 15 points down in the third quarter in the process. Westbrook was held to a double-double, posting a stat line of 24 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds. In the final minutes he actually fouled out of the game, picking up his fifth on a push-off while driving in the paint and his sixth immediately after when knocking over Parsons on an inbound pass. You could see Westbrook’s frustration to say the least.

“He’s got a lot on his plate with those guys out so the ball’s going to be in his hands a lot” said Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons. “We wanted to be physical with him. When you stop a guy’s momentum like that, he definitely gets more and more timid to go in there.” Speaking of course about Westbrook’s teammates Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, Russell has had a tough go of it lately. Shouldering a bulk of the offense can certainly take a toll on someone, both physically and mentally.

Scott Brooks however, doesn’t seem too concerned. “A lot of things, a lot of parts are moving right now,” he said after the game. “Our guys are workers. We’re going to figure it out. We always have. We’re not going to stop now.” With that final spot in the western conference playoffs up for grabs, you bet this team won’t be stopping anytime soon.

‘Serge’ery looming

It’s been 3 games in a row now that Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has missed, all due to some soreness in his right knee. The team did announce he’s on his way to New York to see a specialist, and surgery is in the cards to help relieve the soreness he’s been feeling. In the meantime, Ibaka’s production has been sorely missed. Averaging just over 14 points a game, along with just under 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, Ibaka’s presence on the offensive and defensive end have been missed. Luckily, the Thunder have some capable guys filling in.

Big men Steven Adams, Mitch McGary and Enes Kanter have proven to be very capable options moving forward. Kanter notched another double-double, his seventh in a Thunder uniform, with 19 points and 13 rebounds. McGary also added in a double-double, and he recorded 11 rebounds in the first 6 minutes of the game. The Thunder definitely crash the boards with the best of them, but they wouldn’t mind getting back Ibaka for a final playoff push.

Stars being stars

With a team as loaded as the Dallas Mavericks, it’s rare to see their stars playing like stars. You can only take over the game as an individual, and when you trot out 5 All-Stars on a nightly basis you never know what, or who, will take over. Well on Monday night, they pretty much all did. Chandler Parsons was the big winner, pouring in 31 points while playing solid defense all night. He also drew the foul on Westbrook that sent him out of the game.

Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis played well from the guard position as well, with Rondo racking up 13 assists on the night and Ellis dropping in 24 of his own points. Ellis also connected on four free throws in the final 31 seconds to seal the deal for Dallas. From the forward spot, Dirk was his normal self. He scored 22 on the night, including some late game three pointers, and in a game that had a playoff atmosphere he led his team through the night.

With the playoffs looming closer and closer, the Thunder are scrambling to get themselves ready for a push while the Mavericks seem to be settling into a groove. If that says anything, it’s that the western conference is going to be a dogfight this year.

MVP and Up Next

Parsons will take home the MVP for this game, playing well on both sides of the ball and hitting shots late in the game to keep the lead for Dallas. Drawing that final foul on Westbrook was key as well, showing his great heads-up style of play.

The Thunder will next host the suddenly red-hot Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

The Mavericks will also play host on Wednesday night as they welcome in the Orlando Magic.

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