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Thunder's offense grinds to a halt in 106-103 loss to Mavericks

Dallas took the lead too easily. Out of a timeout, rookie guard Jalen Brunson went past Paul George, forcing Steven Adams to rotate. Mavericks forward Dwight Powell had an easy dunk. That wasn’t the main issue.

On the next possession, Russell Westbrook drove and passed to nowhere. He meant to dump off to Adams, but it was a failed play in a congested area. The Thunder still had two more chances to go ahead late, but Dennis Schroder missed two 3-point looks.

Even that wasn’t the issue.

In the Thunder’s 106-103 loss to the Mavericks on Sunday, OKC’s seventh in its last 10 games, the Thunder’s offense may have hit a new low for ineptitude. Why? Look no further than a 40-year-old future Hall of Famer.

Dirk Nowitzki’s seven points on 2-of-10 shooting weren’t the difference in the game. A poor finishing 1-of-8 start to the first quarter in which the Thunder trio of Westbrook, Paul George and Adams all missed layups can quickly explain OKC’s offensive slog.

The Thunder’s lack of being able to take advantage of Nowitzki’s presence on the floor, however – particularly in isolation – quickly became a microcosm of the game and its season.

"We’ve got to play for 48 minutes," said Schroder, who shot 3-of-11, 1-of-6 from 3. "Everyone, including me, defensively and offensively. We’ve just got to do it together."

The Thunder collectively shot just 38.8 percent from the field and 15-of-29 (51.7 percent) within five feet of the rim. The Thunder shoots 60.3 percent from five feet and in for the season. Sunday’s percentage would have been worst in the league by a mile.

Tied 75-75 in the third quarter, the Thunder worked to get great matchups and responded correctly, driving at the 7-footer. Schroder and George were each isolated against him and went to the rim.

Schroder allowed Nowitzki to block him from behind. George had Nowitzki backpedaling and missed a scoop shot. The Mavs scored the last five points of the quarter.

The Mavericks were 14 points better than the Thunder with Nowitzki in the game. He pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds when his previous high was seven, even snagging an offensive rebound over Markieff Morris to help the Mavericks win the rebound battle 52-49.

Urgency applies at the offensive end, as well.

"I don’t know," Schroder said as to why the Thunder isn’t playing a full 48 minutes with the playoffs two weeks away. "We got out and didn’t execute, didn’t do it defensively in the first half. In the second half we came out and were doing good. We’ve just got to do it for 48."

The Thunder can talk about having urgency all it wants. Its offense struggled with the task of breaking down a player who’s essentially immobile.

Thunder guard Raymond Felton said he couldn’t answer why OKC struggles to exploiting mismatches with regularity.

"Sometimes you’ve just got to make shots," Felton said. "Simple as that."

If the Thunder is on the same page about one thing, it’s the message coming out of the locker room.

"The ball sometimes doesn’t go in the basket," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "Even coming down the stretch, I thought our guys got some fairly decent looks to close the game out. I thought Russell found Jerami (Grant) on the underneath the baseline there and they did a good job of moving the ball to find some threes that just didn’t go down.

"What happens is this is why we’ve got to be a defensive team first."

The Mavericks made 10 of its first 18 3-point attempts before the Thunder tightened up to keep them to 6-of-26 the rest of the way. But that wasn’t the issue, even if Donovan said the 3-point line hurt the Thunder the most.

"We’re playing hard; things are just not going our way right now," Felton said. "Unfortunately, it’s toward the end of the season, but we’ve still got five games to clean it up before we get to the postseason."

When the Thunder gets to the playoffs, there won’t be 40-year-olds standing in its way.

Related Photos
<strong>Dallas' Dwight Powell finishes off a final-minute slam dunk between Oklahoma City's Paul George and Russell Westbrook during Sunday's NBA game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Dallas won, 106-103. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Dallas' Dwight Powell finishes off a final-minute slam dunk between Oklahoma City's Paul George and Russell Westbrook during Sunday's NBA game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Dallas won, 106-103. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5dc432b47cac5afe30bb17eb099cefad.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Dwight Powell finishes off a final-minute slam dunk between Oklahoma City's Paul George and Russell Westbrook during Sunday's NBA game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Dallas won, 106-103. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Dallas' Dwight Powell finishes off a final-minute slam dunk between Oklahoma City's Paul George and Russell Westbrook during Sunday's NBA game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Dallas won, 106-103. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Dallas' Dwight Powell finishes off a final-minute slam dunk between Oklahoma City's Paul George and Russell Westbrook during Sunday's NBA game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Dallas won, 106-103. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-af3196df05cbeb734d08853dac015545.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8abca67c01071413327e044505ecebbd.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8139a533522e74c1f046faa78b578716.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook leaves the court after a 106-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook leaves the court after a 106-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook leaves the court after a 106-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3781c88f33ac1ee0fa54c904066b76a2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, left, gets ready to talk to his team during a timeout on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, left, gets ready to talk to his team during a timeout on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, left, gets ready to talk to his team during a timeout on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c_6bc4ddd847dc4574bfce00f204906d05.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) comes down from the rim between Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) and Russell Westbrook (0) after a dunk in the final minute of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) comes down from the rim between Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) and Russell Westbrook (0) after a dunk in the final minute of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) comes down from the rim between Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) and Russell Westbrook (0) after a dunk in the final minute of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b01af664a2168b98721174e2e61a4e62.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket between Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45), left, and Jalen Brunson (13) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket between Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45), left, and Jalen Brunson (13) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket between Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45), left, and Jalen Brunson (13) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-af3196df05cbeb734d08853dac015545.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12), right, and Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) fight for the ball in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c7126401dee4efa2f40316318349eb46.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) passes the ball to Steven Adams (12) over Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) and Devin Harris (34) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) passes the ball to Steven Adams (12) over Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) and Devin Harris (34) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) passes the ball to Steven Adams (12) over Dallas' Salah Mejri (50) and Devin Harris (34) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-n_8d621a70518bef6bb5be4f5d267860ad.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Trey Burke (23) and coach Rick Carlisle high five after Burke hit a three-point shot in the final seconds of the third quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Dallas' Trey Burke (23) and coach Rick Carlisle high five after Burke hit a three-point shot in the final seconds of the third quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Dallas' Trey Burke (23) and coach Rick Carlisle high five after Burke hit a three-point shot in the final seconds of the third quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8b74595fb92479fb560b88cf06ddd64c.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) looks up after being called for a foul when he collided with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13) as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) looks up after being called for a foul when he collided with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13) as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) looks up after being called for a foul when he collided with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13) as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e1c74620c5683319da6c7bf6f5712484.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) tries to score as Oklahoma City's Markieff Morris (5) defends and Dennis Schroder (17) looks on in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) tries to score as Oklahoma City's Markieff Morris (5) defends and Dennis Schroder (17) looks on in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) tries to score as Oklahoma City's Markieff Morris (5) defends and Dennis Schroder (17) looks on in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-n_635ac15ab185305c4a5a1b9b15c2bf2a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan, right, and Russell Westbrook (0) talk to official Brian Forte after Westbrook was called for a foul after colliding with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13), not pictured, as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan, right, and Russell Westbrook (0) talk to official Brian Forte after Westbrook was called for a foul after colliding with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13), not pictured, as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan, right, and Russell Westbrook (0) talk to official Brian Forte after Westbrook was called for a foul after colliding with Dallas' Jalen Brunson (13), not pictured, as they chased the ball in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-55bccdc1870fe8fe1f220410daba9d21.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots a three-point shot over Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) with 5.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. George missed the shot. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots a three-point shot over Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) with 5.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. George missed the shot. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots a three-point shot over Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) with 5.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. George missed the shot. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2fef16c9ea90c532257ca3c04f776da0.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court next to Terrance Ferguson (23), right, and Andre Roberson (21) after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court next to Terrance Ferguson (23), right, and Andre Roberson (21) after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) leaves the court next to Terrance Ferguson (23), right, and Andre Roberson (21) after an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e0c74e9f3faaac89811f3393dac4fdad.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel (3) blocks a shot by Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel (3) blocks a shot by Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel (3) blocks a shot by Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-08e5fb57b536ced6a742cb4e3a4e993e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) goes to the basket past Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) goes to the basket past Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) goes to the basket past Dallas' Dwight Powell (7) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bb66750610f1d202b435646dfdef9ba2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) is fouled by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) is fouled by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) is fouled by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-n_ec631cbe28825f8d2d4d26c8b5bc7061.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan walks on the court as Paul George (13) heads to the bench during a timeout in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan walks on the court as Paul George (13) heads to the bench during a timeout in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan walks on the court as Paul George (13) heads to the bench during a timeout in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9c3dc64d344456f4517ebdb5d37f06c9.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket against Dallas' Maximilian Kleber (42) in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket against Dallas' Maximilian Kleber (42) in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the basket against Dallas' Maximilian Kleber (42) in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c0ed549f28d9e16fa3e6b3f3711d0506.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) drives against Dallas' Trey Burke (23) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) drives against Dallas' Trey Burke (23) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) drives against Dallas' Trey Burke (23) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d205c39357ce788975e62f3764d603e3.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) passes between Dallas' Trey Burke (23), right, and Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) passes between Dallas' Trey Burke (23), right, and Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) passes between Dallas' Trey Burke (23), right, and Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-790c125aecd342699e78c8a3fcd4f9a6.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots against Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots against Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) shoots against Dallas' Ryan Broekhoff (45) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Dallas won 106-103. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fb776a4875d151572af73deabc32dbf9.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) runs on the court during player introductions before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) runs on the court during player introductions before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) runs on the court during player introductions before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1c3acb15647447013d943de767021ec5.jpg" alt="Photo - Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) stands during the prayer before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) stands during the prayer before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (41) stands during the prayer before an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Erik Horne

Erik Horne is in his fourth season on the Thunder beat. Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013 following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The... Read more ›

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