Game Recap - Conference Finals Game 3 vs Dallas Mavericks

Playoffs Game Recap
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0 Times the Thunder led or was tied in Game 3.

1 Three-point shots made by the Thunder in 17 attempts.

2 Days until Game 4 in the Oklahoma City Arena.

8 Points scored by Russell Westbrook during a stretch in the fourth quarter where the Thunder cut a 14-point deficit to six.

12 Rebounds by Kevin Durant.

14 Points in the fourth quarter by Russell Westbrook.

16 Points by the Thunder bench; it had 50 in Game 2.

17 Second-chance points by the Thunder; the Mavericks had 5.

31 Points the Thunder scored in the fourth quarter.

36.5 Thunder’s shooting percentage from the field.

42 Points in the paint by both the Thunder and the Mavs.

45 Rebounds by the Thunder (12 offensive); the Mavericks had 37.

54 Combined free throw attempts by both teams.

58 Blocks in the playoffs by Serge Ibaka, tops in the NBA; an average of 3.9 per game.

GAME 4 of the Western Conference Finals will be played Monday night in Oklahoma City. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

“We have one more game at home, which we definitely need to take care of,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said. “We need to come out and play the same way defensively and try to get a win.”

 Added forward Kevin Durant: “We have to take care of home floor next game and then we’ve got to go back on the road. We’ve won there before, so we’ve got to come back and bring a different mindset. We know it’s going to be tough. The rest of the series is going to be tough. But if it was easy, everybody would do it.”


GAME IN REVIEW

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: The Thunder missed consecutive 3-point attempts and turned the ball over during a three-possession sequence with less than three minutes in the game.  

The Thunder had stormed back from what once was a 23-point deficit behind the play of Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison, and now found itself within six, 84-78, with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.  

With the sold-out Oklahoma City Arena crowd on its feet, the Thunder defense forced Mavericks guard Jason Terry to miss a short jumper and Thunder guard James Harden came down with the rebound. Westbrook, with 2:54 remaining, and Daequan Cook, 26 seconds later, each took 3-point shots that bounced off the rim.  

“Russell’s 3, that might have been an opportunity for him to attack. He was in attack mode and he had brought us back,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “DC’s threes, he was wide open. That’s what we have him in there for. … I could not have complained about those shots.”  

The Thunder was 1-for-17 from 3-point range. “That’s not good,” Brooks said. “We’ve got to get better. We know that. They did a good job of getting us out of our offense.”  

Terry pushed the Mavericks’ lead back to eight with 1:42 remaining, essentially closing the door on the Thunder run.  

“That start (the Thunder trailed 27-12 after the first quarter) was tough to overcome, but I give our guys a lot of credit,” Brooks said. “They came back and made it a game in the fourth quarter.”

TURNING POINTS: The opening tipoff. The Mavericks jumped out to leads of 9-2, 13-4, 21-8 and 27-10.  No time out, Thunder basket or defensive stop could slow the Mavericks for any extended period. … In the third quarter, Dirk Nowitzki hits converts the free throw awarded to Dallas via a technical foul called on Russell Westbrook. Emotions stoked, the Thunder responds with a 10-3 run to pull within 65-52. Thunder stays within striking distance, down 70-56 after three. … With 8:22 remaining in the game, Westbrook scores eight points in a 10-2 Thunder run to pull within 80-74.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Kevin Durant deflecting a pass from Dirk Nowitzki to Shawn Marion  and gathering the loose ball. … Serge Ibaka emphatically blocking the shot of Marion. … Russell Westbrook taking a loose ball down the court full speed, putting a head fake on Jason Kidd and going in for the layup. … Ibaka helping others by blocking the shot of DeShawn Stevenson deep in the lane. … Nick Collison, with the Thunder down 52-33 and fighting for any momentum, reaches in and strips the ball from Nowitzki. Both big men hit the floor and the refs rule jump ball. Thunder wins the jump ball, leading to two free throws by Kendrick Perkins with 13.5 seconds to play. … Collison, battling for a rebound on Perkins’ second foul shot, is thrown to the court by Brendan Haywood and awarded a foul shot. He sinks it, pulling the Thunder within 52-36. … Collison stands his ground on a Nowitzki drive in the final seconds, forcing the Mavs’ perennial all-star to miss and the half ends. … Sefolosha jumping in front of a Kidd bounce pass intended for Jason Terry and hitting the floor to collect the ball and get it to Westbrook. … Westbrook high-fiving Collison after the forward kept alive a Thunder possession with consecutive offensive rebounds. The possession ended with two free throws by James Harden, pulling the Thunder within 80-74. … Collison and Durant each blocking the shot of Nowitzki on back-to-back shots by the Mavs’ big man. … With 3:31 to play and the Thunder down 84-76, Collison forces a jump ball with Nowitzki. Thunder wins the tip and Collison converts, pulling Thunder within 84-78. … Collison forces Nowitzki to turn ball over with 2:07 to play.

STATS (NOT) WORTH REPEATING: 10-for-34: The Thunder’s shooting performance from the field in the first half (29.4 percent). … 1-for-17: the Thunder from 3-point range.

A SLOW START:The Thunder was outscored 27-12 in the first quarter. The 12 points was the Thunder’s second-lowest point total in a quarter (not counting overtime) since it scored 10 in the fourth quarter of its Game 3 loss in Memphis.  

The 15-point difference was a postseason high. The Thunder had previously been outscored by 14 twice (vs. Mavs in second quarter of Game 1; vs. Memphis in third quarter of Game 6), 13 (vs. Memphis in fourth quarter of Game 3) and 12 (vs. Memphis in first quarter of Game 4).  

The Thunder shot 4-for-17 from the field (23.5 percent), 0-for-5 from the 3-point line, 4-for-4 from the line and had seven turnovers. On the plus side, the Thunder did win the rebound battle in the period, 11-9.  

LAST WORD I: “They were very physical, really pushing us off of our spots and trapping the basketball. They did a great job. We were on our heels and also, we missed some shots. The combination of those two things led to a bad start offensively – I think we were down, what, 17 points in that first quarter? That’s tough to overcome against a very good team in the playoffs.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

LAST WORD II: “We were much better tonight defensively and you know, we had to be. The first two games were poor. We were fortunate to win that first game. But tonight, I mean, we played championship-level defense for the first time in the series and now the challenge is to sustain.” – Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle.

LAST WORD III: “It is tough. You are down 20 most of the game and you finally cut it down and then they hit a shot that hurts your heart. They did that numerous times.” – Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. -- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM