What kind of night was this? Scott Brooks actually put Russell Westbrook on Dirk for a few moments in the fourth quarter. (And Westbrook drew a charge, to Nowitzki’s visible annoyance.) It didn’t figure to be a blowout, though the Thunder did briefly lead by 16 in the second. Inside the last minute, Dallas was up 97-96; Kevin Durant drew a foul from Jason Terry and sank two free throws, Dirk’s dagger didn’t, and James Harden chipped in two more freebies, making it 100-97 at the 25-second mark. Jason Terry took a whole five seconds to lay it up; Harden got two more free throws to make it 102-99, and while Terry had a couple of good looks on that last possession, nothing would fall, and it’s 2-0 Thunder.
Dirk, as befits Dirk, had a game-high 31; the rest of the Mavs shot a blah 38 percent, and only five of 23 treys fell. (The Thunder dropped 5 of 16 from the next block.) Shawn Marion added 15 points; the Jasons had 23 between them. Dallas was outrebounded slightly, 37-35. The OKC secret weapon, though, was obviously the foul shot: the Thunder hit 37 of 39.
Before you ask: Durant missed those two. Still, despite another meh night from the floor (5-17), he cashed in 26 points, and Westbrook (10-21) had 29 more. There was a little more bench action tonight: Harden finished with 15, but Derek Fisher rose for 11, and Nick Collison might have had more than four had he not fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
So it’s off to Dallas on Thursday and Saturday. Can the Thunder shut down the Mavs? There’s only one way to find out.