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Dallas Mavericks Strive To Overcome Luka Doncic’s Knee Sprain Following Game 1 Loss To OKC Thunder

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In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Paycom Center, the Oklahoma City Thunder secured a commanding victory over the Dallas Mavericks, sealing the game with a final score of 117-95. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder’s charge, amassing 29 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, while Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 39 points for the Mavericks.

The Thunder’s triumph was propelled by a dominant second quarter, outscoring the Mavericks 34-21, and an authoritative third quarter, extending their lead to 14 points. Notably, Gilgeous-Alexander’s stellar performance in the third quarter, contributing 10 crucial points, thwarted the Mavericks’ attempts at staging a comeback.

Despite commendable efforts from Doncic and Irving, the Mavericks struggled to overcome their dismal shooting performance, managing only 39% from the field and a mere 22% from beyond the arc. In contrast, the Thunder boasted a 48% field goal percentage and a 41% success rate from long range, with Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams combining for 46 points.

The Mavericks’ woes were exacerbated by their 16 turnovers, which the Thunder capitalized on, converting them into 23 points. Additionally, the Thunder dominated the boards, outrebounding the Mavericks 52-39, with Gilgeous-Alexander and Jaylin Williams each securing nine rebounds.

Doncic, nursing a right knee sprain, struggled with his shooting, making just 6-19 from the field and 1-8 from beyond the arc. His playoff shooting percentages of 39.5% from the field and 22.7% from 3-point range highlight ongoing shooting challenges.

The Mavericks encountered difficulties containing Gilgeous-Alexander and preventing the Thunder’s frequent visits to the free throw line, particularly evident in the first half, where he accounted for 11 of the team’s 22 free throw attempts.

Despite initially narrowing the gap to just one point in the third quarter, the Mavericks found themselves unable to sustain momentum, a lapse Doncic attributed to a collective relaxation within the team.

With over five minutes left in regulation and the Thunder leading 111-89, Coach Kidd conceded Game 1, acknowledging Dallas’s subpar shooting performance and uncharacteristic turnovers.

Reflecting on their history under Kidd, the Mavericks find solace in their resilience after losing Game 1 of a series, as demonstrated in previous playoff matchups, including a 12-point loss to the LA Clippers in this year’s first-round series.

Irving recognized the Mavericks’ struggles against the Thunder’s relentless pace and aggression, emphasizing Oklahoma City’s youthful athleticism and unwavering tenacity, which demand heightened effort from opponents like the Mavericks.

The series will resume with Game 2 at Paycom Center on Thursday, as the Mavericks aim to rebound from their disappointing loss and avoid falling into an 0-2 series deficit.

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