<
>

3-pointer: One other champ started 0-3

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Dallas Mavericks were 1.4 seconds away from a happy flight home and seeking a first winning streak of the season tonight against the Toronto Raptors.

Instead, they’ll look to avoid an 0-4 start.

The Mavs lost 104-102 on Thursday night to Kevin Durant, who had his fourth consecutive 30-point game to start the season and was called the best player in the game right now by Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it put Dallas in some rare company as only the second defending NBA champion to lose their first three games of the season. The other team was the 1969-70 Boston Celtics.

While the Mavs lost a pretty good center in Tyson Chandler, the Celtics lost a Hall of Famer by the name of Bill Russell.

On to our 3-pointer from Thursday’s tough loss while looking ahead to tonight’s game:

1. Are the basketball gods really not on the Mavs’ side?: That’s how Rick Carlisle explained events such as Durant’s 27-footer going down at the buzzer. To be fair, Carlisle said it’s up to the team to sort of convince the basketball gods to come to your side. How do you do that?

“Right now the basketball gods aren’t on our side," Carlisle said. "We’ve got to get them on our side, and you don’t do that unless you do things right all the time. We’re making strides, but we’re not there yet."

2. Lamar Odom’s struggles continue: The former Los Angeles Laker is 4-of-27 from the floor in the first three games. He took 11 shots in just 17 minutes Thursday and didn’t step foot on the floor in the fourth quarter. At the morning shootaround, Odom dismissed any notions that he is not interested in playing in Dallas, saying he owed it to Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, Carlisle and his teammates to produce. After totaling four points and two rebounds Thursday, Odom reiterated that things will get better, that basketball, in essence, is a simple game and that he is a basketball player.

3. Jason Terry the point guard: With Delonte West starting at shooting guard, Terry is going to find time at point guard, and he might just like it. Terry had nine assists in Thursday’s game to go along with 16 points. He has 13 assists in the last two games with West in the starting lineup.