Quantcast 2011 NBA western Conference Finals: Oklahoma City vs Dallas

 

Western Conference Final Game 1 - Dallas 121, Oklahoma City 112 - Dallas leads series 1-0

 

 

It was a performance that redefined efficient basketball. It was a rendering that rewrote the NBA record books for number of free throws made without a miss. It was a presentation destined for the annuls of great playoff performance. Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki was, to say the least, in a rhythm shooter’s can only dream about. Nowitzki scored a playoff career high 48 points. And did it on just 15 shot attempts. Dirk’s prowess at the free-throw line, shooting making all 24 attempts, was a sight to behold.

During the game-changing third quarter, Nowitzki scored 17 points, 13 of which came from the free throw line. By the time the third stanza ended, the Mavericks held a double-digit lead. In the final quarter, Nowitzki received all the help he needed. Reserve guard Jose Barea scored 12 straight Dallas points during a critical three-plus minutes stretch early in the quarter as the Mavs pushed their lead to 104-89 with 6:58 remaining.

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Credit the Oklahoma City Thunder for hanging around despite the astounding performance from Nowitzki. Two-time defending scoring champion Kevin Durant had a game worthy of the front page as well. Durant was nearly as efficient as Nowitzki, scoring a team high 40 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Like Nowitzki, Durant capitalized at the charity stripe, hitting on 18-of-19 attempts. During a stretches in the first and fourth quarters, Durant matched Nowitzki’s every move, keeping the Thunder in the ballgame. A tough jumper with 3:42 left brought the Thunder as close as 106-101.

It was Dirk’s turn to close it out.

Nowitzki scored or assisted on six of the final eight Dallas possessions to seal the victory. When the Thunder cut the lead to six with just 48 seconds to play, Nowitzki found Jason Terry for a corner three-pointer to put the game out of reach. It was the capstone to a singular performance from the German-born seven-footer. Nowitzki looked for his shot early and often. He was also a desirous facilitator, allowing Barea to take over during an important section as well as finding Terry for key buckets down the stretch.


 

Oklahoma City was not only undone by superior play from a superstar player, it was missing a key cog of its offensive attack. Russell Westbrook was unable to join Durant in lifting his game to the moment. Westbrook shot just 3-of-15 on the night.

In the end, it was a night for Nowitzki and his Mavs. Fresh off a four-game sweep of the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, and with a 10 day layoff weighing on their minds, the Mavericks yoked up on their best player and he willed them to victory. Tuesday night in Dallas, Texas was home to a performance of the ages. And with a series left to be decided, Dirk may just be getting started.

 

By: Zach Bloxham
ProBasketball-fans.com Staff Writer


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