How it happened: Coach Rick Carlisle calls them catastrophic turnovers, the kind of offensive miscues that result in easy buckets on the other end. The Mavs simply can’t have them and expect to beat a team the caliber of the Thunder.
The Mavs made too many of those types of mistakes to keep up with Oklahoma City, especially in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Thunder converted 21 Dallas turnovers into 23 points. The Mavs had a total of 13 turnovers in the second and third quarters, allowing Oklahoma City to build a double-digit lead.
Oklahoma City’s offense, which features arguably the most explosive tandem in the NBA, poses enough problems without any help. The Thunder's stars had routine nights by their standards, as OKC shot 54.4 percent from the floor.
In his second game back from knee surgery, Russell Westbrook left little doubt about his health, scoring 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting in a performance highlighted by a spectacular dunk in transition traffic, when he took off from a step outside the dotted line. Kevin Durant added 23 points and 10 assists.
The Mavs’ offense, which had produced the second most points in the league entering the night, sputtered some after putting up 31 points in the first quarter. The Mavs coughed the ball up too often and shot only 42.4 percent from the floor.
Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting, but he also committed a team-high seven turnovers.
What it means: The Mavs head north with a 3-2 record, getting a day off before another back-to-back in Minnesota and Milwaukee. The Mavs have yet to win on the road, having been beaten convincingly by a couple of Western Conference contenders, the Rockets and Thunder. Oklahoma City improved to 3-1.
Play of the game: The Thunder had several high-flying plays fit for the highlight reel, but the most memorable moment of the game happened on the ground. After getting hit with what might have been an inadvertent elbow by rookie center Steven Adams, Carter retaliated with what most certainly was an intentional one. Carter’s shot to Adams’ head earned him a flagrant 2 foul and an ejection with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter. Carter, who was scoreless in 14 minutes, will be subject to further penalty from the league office.
Stat of the night: The Mavs have lost 13 of 14 games, including playoffs to the Thunder since eliminating Oklahoma City in the 2011 West finals. Dallas’ losing streak in the series stands at 11 games.