Apparently, rest does a body good. The Dallas Mavericks, who have been waiting on their Western Conference Finals opponent since dispatching the Lakers, showed no signs of rust as they protected their home court with a 121-112 Game 1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.
Not surprisingly, Dirk Nowitzki led the way with another otherworldly playoff performance: 48 points on 12-15 from the field and an NBA playoff-record 24 straight free throws. No one could stop the German. Not Serge Ibaka, not Kendrick Perkins, not Thabo Sefolosha. Not anyone. Dirk was on fire and the Thunder had no answer.
Except for Kevin Durant. Lost in the praise of the Nowitzki show is that fact that Durant went off for 40 points and single-handedly kept OKC within striking distance. But every time the Thunder made a run, the Mavs had a counter. The key swing for Dallas was the 13-0 run late in the second quarter that gave them the lead for good. Jason Terry and JJ Barea added 24 points and 21 points, respectively, and kept OKC’s defense honest when it tried to double and triple team Dirk.
Russell Westbrook, who had a triple-double in the clincher against Memphis, was held to 20 points on a woeful 3-15 from the field with three assists and three rebounds. If OKC wants to bounce back in Game 2, they’ll need Westbrook to either shoot better or distribute the ball more efficiently.
The Mavs are on a seven-game winning streak in these Playoffs since their fourth-quarter collapse against Portland in Game 4, and it doesn’t look like they plan on slowing down. Coach Scotty Brooks will have to review game tape and shake his magic eight ball to learn how in the world he can contain Dirk Nowitzki moving forward because if the smooth-shooting 7-footer continues to have games like this, Dallas will win this series. —Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport