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Gafford scores 19 in debut as Mavs rout Thunder

Glenn James / National Basketball Association / Getty

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 32 points, and the Dallas Mavericks matched their longest winning streak of the season at four games in a 146-111 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and Daniel Gafford had 19 points and nine rebounds in his Dallas debut alongside P.J. Washington after both were acquired in trades before Thursday’s deadline.

Gafford wasted no time bringing energy off the bench as he will be expected to do when rookie Dereck Lively II returns from a broken nose. He came from the Washington Wizards.

Washington, who scored 14 points, came from Charlotte, and both newcomers had alley-oop dunks on assists from Doncic within minutes of entering the game in the first quarter.

“Playing with guys like Luka, Kyrie, all the other guys that were on the floor, it just felt like I was already part of the mold,” said Gafford, who was 7 of 11 while playing just 17 minutes.

Doncic, who sat the fourth quarter, had nine assists and eight rebounds as Dallas improved to 4-0 with Doncic and Irving in the lineup since Irving’s return from a sprained thumb.

“The pace was high,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “We didn’t have to run anybody’s minutes up. And that was something that we talked about this afternoon. A lot, a lot of good stuff.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 25 points for the Thunder, who got Gordon Hayward from the Hornets at the deadline but aren’t expected to play the 2017 All-Star before next week’s All-Star break.

The Mavs had a 47-30 lead after the highest-scoring first quarter in franchise history, led by 18 points from Doncic as the Thunder allowed their most points in a quarter in 2023-24.

“They shot it well early, but that’s where some of the transition, like straight up fast break plays really hurt you,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “Because when you’re giving up easy ones and they’re making shots, then that’s how the 47 can happen in the first quarter.”

Oklahoma City, which came in a half-game behind Minnesota for the best record in the Western Conference, got as close as four midway through the second quarter after trailing by 22 late in the first.

The Mavericks were back in control in the second half when Gafford rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Irving and got fouled on the put-back. His free throw put Dallas up 110-89 in the final seconds of the third quarter. Gafford led the Mavs with four offensive rebounds.

“What we’ve seen playing against Gafford is that he gets every offensive rebound,” Kidd said. “And I thought he did that for us. And we’re going to need that.”

Irving had eight assists, including the 4,000th of his career in the second quarter, as the Mavs finished one point off their season high.


Thunder: Hosts Sacramento to finish a back-to-back Sunday.

Mavericks: Hosts Washington on Monday.



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