OKC Thunder: No answer for Luka Doncic, Mavericks: grades

JANUARY 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles ball against OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles ball against OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
JANUARY 27: Steven Adams #12 and Danilo Gallinari #8 of OKC Thunder talk during the game against the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

B. . PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. LU DORT


Luguentz Dort is a rookie — an undrafted rookie who is taking on the role of defending the toughest coverage. Initially, he was so up on Luka Doncic who for the record is 6’7 while Dort is 6’3″. And even if Dort’s height has been tweaked a bit (he looks shorter) that’s still four extra inches Doncic has on him.

And yet in the early going he had the wunderkid visibly upset with his man on man defense. Through the first half, he was highly responsible for limiting Doncic to 15 points which might not seem like a big deal — but we’re talking an MVP candidate who is significantly taller and more experienced.

Unfortunately, adjustments were made and like all true stars they figure out how to adapt which is what the Mavericks star did in the second half.

Overall a solid effort from the youngster. It begs the question of what he could do if he was paired with an equally gifted man on man defender.

PF. Oklahoma City Thunder. DANILO GALLINARI. B-.

It may be a situation similar to Steven Adams where Danilo Gallinari likely was playing in a game he shouldn’t be but took one on the chin for the team.

His effort was there but the clear tell with Gallo is when he’s off physically it shows via his efficiency. In addition, Maxi Kleber is one of the most underrated two-way players in the NBA. Seriously, I can’t imagine if Dwight Powell hadn’t got hurt how stellar this Mavericks frontcourt could be.

We’ll have to see how Kristaps Porzingis continues to progress and how Willie Caulie-Stein figures in the group but this Mavericks club has the best offense in the NBA for a reason. Their defense isn’t discussed to the same degree but they have a lot of length and talent.

If Gallo was 100 percent healthy along with Adams who is also less than 100 percent the story might be different but on this night his production didn’t’ equal his effort. In spite of that, he managed to score 14 points, grab five rebounds, dish six assists along with a steal.

The one thing Gallo won’t do it shoot for the sake of shooting he kept trying to get Schroder to make the second pass and here comes the broken record — this is where Chris Paul’s effect was sorely missing.

Also of note, only two players collected positive differentials (Gallo and Dort were both plus 2).

Oklahoma City Thunder. STEVEN ADAMS. B. . C

Considering the last game Steven Adams played he was demonstrably hampered and got a single rebound and two assists.

He continues to look less than 100 percent but managed to deliver nine points, five rebounds, and four assists.

One note for Adams is tied more directly to Billy Donovan. It was clear SGA was forcing his shot and also trying to draw fouls. Without the ball movement and the Mavericks packing the paint, the one twist that worked was Adams initiating the offense and it felt like that was a lost opportunity. The big Kiwi had four assists and that could’ve easily doubled and or been the hockey assist leading to the assist.

With him at the top of the paint, it threw off Dallas who weren’t sure whether they should collapse or charge out to the perimeter and on the occasion the wings ran patterns or made cuts it forced the defense to shift.

Wash – rinse – repeat —- if CP3 was on hand this likely never arises but it’s something Billy D should remember for the future since it appeared like SGA just kept running right into the awaiting wall and occasionally flipping it to a corner for a quick shot. What was needed more than anything versus Dallas was movement (both player and ball).

Playing through injury is no easy feat and that’s also worth noting.