Mavericks vs. Thunder Score, Highlights, Takeaways: OKC surges late in Game 4 win over Mavs

We have a series. Despite leading by 14 and controlling most of the game, the Dallas Mavericks were unable to close out Game 4 as the Oklahoma City Thunder staged a fourth-quarter rally to win the series 100-96. Two games.

OKC got a superstar performance from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 34 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Chet Holmgren added 18 of his own to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks.

It was a lackluster night for Luka Doncic, who scored 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting, including 2-of-9 from 3 with seven turnovers. Kyrie Irving was quiet again with nine points, although he did have nine assists. PJ Washington was terrific again with 21 points and five 3-pointers.

The series will now shift back to OKC for a pivotal Game 5 on Wednesday. Below are four takeaways from Game 4:

1. SGA plays superhero

Gilgeous-Alexander carried the Thunder in every sense of the word for this win. He finished with 34 points (his playoff career high), sinking legitimate midrange jumper after legitimate midrange jumper (including one legitimately from behind the backboard) as OKC struggled to find points from beyond the arc for much of the game. (26% as a group) or marginal (35% as a group). In timeout, SGA scored or assisted on 18 of OKC’s final 22 points in the game’s final six minutes. Type Superstar stuff.

2. Luka Doncic was miserable

I am not exaggerating. Luka, despite a triple-double box score of 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, was truly miserable in this game. Thunder clearly frustrates him. He’s looking at suggestions for bailouts in his usual fashion, however, the calls aren’t coming and Doncic isn’t generating any sort of consistent downfield leverage. In the end, Doncic finished with more turnovers (7) than shots (6) and missed a free throw with 10 seconds left that could have sent the game to overtime. He may still be injured, but the Mavericks want every bit of their superstar.

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3. The Mavs lost this game in a streak

As mentioned, the Mavericks more or less shut down the Thunder at the rim (Daniel Gafford, Derek Lively and Derrick Jones Jr. combined for 12 of Dallas’ 13 blocked shots). Additionally, Dallas outscored OKC by 12 in the paint and 12 from beyond the arc. Dallas had more rebounds. More help.

Where did the Thunder win this game you ask? At the free-throw line, they went 23-of-24 to Dallas’ 12-of-23. OKC won the 3-point battle 12-3 in the fourth, and again, SGA owned crunch time. However, despite all that, if Dallas makes its free throws, it will most likely win this game. Doncic’s aforementioned miss with 10 seconds left was a microcosm all night for Dallas.

4. Breakthrough

With 6:36 left in the fourth quarter and the Thunder trailing by seven, Le Tart missed a 3-pointer and after Jaylin Williams came down with an offensive rebound, the ball slapped out of his hands. The call on the court was a Dallas ball, but Williams actually deflected the ball away from Dallas’ Derrick Jones Jr. OKC coach Marc Daignault trusted his guy, challenged the call and won. That’s where the game turned.

Again, at that point, the ball was back to Dallas, and the Thunder were up seven. Instead, OKC kept possession, and (Jalen) Williams promptly made an old-fashioned 3-pointer to cut the Dallas lead to four. OKC hit nine of its next 11 shots to turn a seven-point deficit into a five-point lead with five minutes left.

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