Western Conference Finals Game 1: Mavs vs Thunder

Posted by By at 19 May, at 01 : 19 AM Print

After resting for 8 full days after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavericks finally returned to the AAC to battle the Oklahoma City Thunder in what would be a historic night for Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Both teams opened the first quarter constantly passing the ball to their best players as Nowitzki and Durant went shot for shot without missing. Dirk gave the Mavs an early lead until OKC answered with a 10-2 run halfway through the quarter to take a 13-12 lead despite Perkins’ two quick fouls. Durant then continued to make bucket after bucket to end the quarter on a 12-4 run to put the Thunder up 27-10.

In the first quarter, the Mavs were 0 for 6 from 3-point range, and Durant outscored Nowitzki 13-10 although both were shooting phenomenally.

The second quarter was different for the Mavs as their defense picked up and they began to make stops while Terry and Barea came off the bench to add an offensive spark. Dallas went on a 9-0 run to start the quarter tying it up at 32. Marion then took an accidental elbow to the face from Perkins and went down in pain, lying there as the game continued. Carlisle then received a technical foul for arguing with officials in an attempt to stop the play. Despite Marion’s bleeding nose, he continued to play which brought the Mavericks encouragement to play even harder. Dallas finished the second quarter on a 16-3 run to gain a 55-48 lead into halftime.

The Mavericks outshot the Thunder in the first half, 52.5% to 44.7%, after Thunder hit just 6 of 20 in the second quarter including missing their final 6 shots. Dirk also outscored Durant, 21-17 in the first half after missing just one basket from the floor. Dallas held Westbrook to 1 of 8 from the floor.

Nowitzki worked his magic to start the second half as Ibaka got his fourth personal foul. But the Thunder continued to fight back, trying not to let the Mavs pull away. Dirk continued to show how un-guardable he was as he mismatched every player that Scott Brooks put on him, and forced them all into foul trouble. Coach brooks then got a technical for voicing his displeasure. Dirk took another trip to the line, hitting his 13th consecutive free throw in the quarter to set a new franchise high as well as lifting Dallas to a 90-79 lead to end the third.

In the fourth quarter, Dirk continued to swish in baskets and make constant trips to the free throw line. With his next trip there, he reached the franchise record for free throws made in a half at 15. Barea used his advantage of quickness along with his small size to get through Thunder’s defense straight to the basket as he scored 12 straight points to help the Mavs pull away. But just as the Mavs thought they had the game on lock, Thunder came rolling back with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to within five, 104-99, with less than 5 minutes to go. Marion then fouled out of the game with just under 3 minutes left on the clock. But Dirk pushed the Mavs back up by double digits after hitting his 22nd consecutive made free throw surpassing Paul Pierce’s 21, setting a new NBA playoff record. OKC came to within 6 before Terry hit a 3-pointer to put Dallas up by 9 with 28 ticks on the clock. Dirk then took another trip to the charity strip, hitting free throws number 23 and 24 to secure the lead until the final buzzer sounded. The final score was 121-112.

Dirk was 100% from the free throw line as he went 24-24 as well as 12 of 15 from the floor. He finished with 48 points, two points shy of his career playoff-high against phoenix in the 2006 playoffs. He also had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks.

Marion was the only other Dallas starter in double figures with 11 points, while Kidd had a game-high 11 assists. Off the bench, Terry had 24 points and Barea added 21 of his own.

Before the game, Terry mentioned that his goal was to personally outscore the whole Thunder bench. His goal was exceeded as the Dallas bench outscored OKC’s 53-22.

Durant led the Thunder with 40 points and 8 rebounds while Ibaka had 17 points and 6 rebounds. Despite scoring 20 points, Westbrook finished just 3 of 15 from the floor. Harden added 12 points off the bench to give the Thunder four players in double figures.

The Mavs outshot the Thunder, 53.4% to 47.2% and despite the Thunder’s 35-33 edge in rebounding and 40-36 edge in points in the paint, it wasn’t enough to beat the Mavs.

The Mavs will now head into Game 2 Thursday night hoping to gain a 2-0 series lead before leaving the AAC to travel to OKC for Games 3 and 4.

**Game 2 will air on ESPN on Thursday, May 19th at 9:00pm ET.

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