Game Recap - Conference Finals Game 1 vs Dallas Mavericks

Playoffs Game Recap
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3 Points the Thunder scored during the last 4:26 of the second quarter.

4 3-point shots the Mavericks made in the second quarter. They made zero in the first period and finished with nine.

5 Rebounds by Nick Collison, all of them on the offensive end.

6 Lead changes in the game.

9 Thunder’s biggest lead in the game.

15 Shot attempts taken by Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki.

35 Rebounds by the Thunder, two more than the Mavericks. “That was a target stat for us,” Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle said.

37 Combined free throw attempts by Kevin Durant (18-for-19) and Russell Westbrook (14-for-18).

40 Points by Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

79 Combined free throws attempted by both teams.

GAME 2 of the Western Conference Finals will be played Thursday night in Dallas. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

“I have a lot of faith in my teammates. I believe in them,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “We’ve got to lean on each other. One guy can’t win a series, two guys can’t win a series. We need each other.”


GAME IN REVIEW

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: Shawn Marion grabbed an offensive rebound of his own miss and went right back up for a basket to put the Mavericks up 108-101 with 3 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the game.

The Thunder had just cut what once was a 16-point deficit just six minutes earlier down to 106-101 on a 12-foot turnaround jumper by Kevin Durant. Needing a stop, it appeared the Thunder got it when Marion missed his initial shot. The ball bounced off at least one set of Thunder hands and landed in the hands of Marion.

“We cut the lead to five twice. We had a chance,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “They got that rebound and put it back in. We played well offensively. We can’t complain about putting 112 points on the board. But defensively, we can do better. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”

The Thunder twice got within six in the final three minutes, but the Mavericks would not budge. Dirk Nowitzki wrapped up his playoff-career-high 48-point night by scoring eight of Dallas’ final 13 points. Half of those 48 points came at the free-throw line, where Nowitzki set an NBA Playoff record by making 24 of 24 attempts.

TURNING POINTS: The Mavericks, who trailed 27-20 after the first quarter, open the second on a 12-5 run and tie the game. … After the Thunder builds a 45-39 lead with 4:26 to play in the half, the Mavericks respond with a 16-3 run and head into the locker room with a 55-48 lead. The Thunder missed shots on six consecutive possessions during the Mavs’ run and was scoreless during a 3:44 stretch during which the American Airlines Center crowd roared back to life. … In the third quarter, the Thunder pulls within 61-57 on a pair of free throws by Kevin Durant. The Mavericks answer with a 22-9 run to push their lead to 15 points. … In the fourth quarter, Jose Barea goes on a 12-point scoring spree in the span of 3:34. The

Thunder, which trailed by as many as 15 points late in the third quarter, fought its way back and was within 92-83 following a Serge Ibaka dunk. With energy and momentum on its side, the Thunder needed a defensive stop. It didn’t happen. Barea carved his way through traffic and was fouled. His three-point play put the Mavericks up 95-83 and by the time he was done, the lead was 104-89.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Thabo Sefolosha soaring high to keep a cross-court pass from Kevin Durant from going out of bounds. Before his feet hit the court, Sefolosha finds Serge Ibaka with a touch pass and Ibaka drills a 12-foot jumper for a 17-16 lead. … Nick Collison stepping in the lane to draw a charge on Corey Brewer. … James Harden finishing a nice alley-oop pass from Eric Maynor. … Durant racing down court for a lay-in just before the first-quarter buzzer, giving the Thunder a 27-20 lead. … Westbrook driving the lane hard, spinning and hitting Harden with a pass behind the arc. Harden swishes the shot and the Thunder is up 35-32. … Kendrick Perkins, with Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood collapsing on him, dumps a pass to Ibaka under the basket. Ibaka rises and throws down a dunk despite being fouled. He converts the free throw to give the Thunder a 40-37 lead. … Durant pulling down a defensive rebound and going down court, where he releases a running one-handed shot to keep the Thunder up three. … Beautiful offensive series that sees Westbrook dribble in front of the Thunder bench, find Durant slashing through the lane and Durant releases a touch pass to Perkins for an uncontested basket. … Durant blocking the shot of Shawn Marion and Perkins diving on the floor for the ball. Perkins shovels the pass to Westbrook, who darts down court and is fouled. … Westbrook soaring to grab a defensive rebound despite Marion over his back. Marion fouls out on the play, with Mavs leading 108-101.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: 24-for-24: Free throws made and attempted by Dirk Nowitzki, a NBA Playoff record. … 16-5: The run the Thunder used midway through the fourth quarter to turn what was a 16-point deficit with 9:04 remaining to a five-point deficit with 4:18 to go. “We were down big in the fourth, but we made it a two-possession game. … We just have to keep pushing,” said Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who had 40 points.

THIS AND THAT: The first two baskets of the game were over-ruled. Tyson Chandler was called for traveling on the Mavs’ first possession; Russell Westbrook was whistled for offensive basket interference on the ensuing trip down court. … Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks was asked before the game about technical fouls and whether that is a subject he has addressed with Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins. “Yes, we’ve talked about that,” he said. “It’s important to play with composure. … Perk, he has to play with that edge, but he has to control it.” One minute, 10 seconds into the game, Perkins and Chandler were called for a double technical. It was Perkins’ fifth technical of the post-season. If a player is assessed seven technicals in the playoffs, he is suspended for one game. … The Mavericks, who hit an NBA Playoffs record 20 3-point shots in their series-clinching win against the L.A. Lakers, were 0-for-6 from behind the arc in the first quarter. Jason Terry finally hit the Mavs’ first three with 9:31 to play before halftime. Dallas made 9 3-pointers for the night.

INTERESTING MIX: Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks went with a small lineup in both the third and fourth quarters, surrounding Perkins with Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden and Russell Westbrook at one point and adding Nate Robinson to the mix early in the fourth. “I felt we needed a spark and that’s one of the things he does. He brings energy, toughness and he can hit some shots,” Brooks said when asked about Robinson.

LAST WORD I: “I thought we came out good in the first quarter, and then the second quarter our offense kind of went south on us pretty quickly. But this team has always had an incredible ability to bounce back and it’s what we expect in the next game. We will look at film, watch some film, practice tomorrow and come back better.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

LAST WORD II: “I thought maybe the biggest key to the game was (Shawn) Marion coming back after he got his nose broken because we need him out there to try to deal with Durant. I mean, he was bleeding. He had things stuck up his nose. It was a really difficult situation, but we desperately needed him out there.” – Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle.

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM