Dirk Incredible, Mavs Win Game 1
Dirk Nowitzki gave one of the all-time great playoff performances to lead his Mavericks to a 121-112 win over the OKC Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Dirk made 10 of his first 11 shots and an NBA playoff-record 24 straight free throws on the way to 48 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. Here is more from the AP and espn.com.
Six guys tried stopping him, and the big German either shot over them or put them in foul trouble. He made 13 free throws in the third quarter alone. And when Oklahoma City sent a second defender at him, Nowitzki usually passed to the teammate left open.
Nowitzki finished 12 of 15 and a perfect 24 of 24 at the line. It was the most by anyone this postseason and two points shy of his most ever in a playoff game. He also had six rebounds, four assists and four blocks.
How good was he? On the series when Nowitzki missed for the first time, a teammate got the ball back to him, and he found Tyson Chandler for a layup.
Dirk Nowitzki was simply unstoppable Tuesday night. Oklahoma City had no answer for him. To be fair, Dallas didn't have a real answer for Kevin Durant. The two-time NBA scoring champion scored 40 points for the Thunder. It was only the third time in NBA history that opposing players scored 40+ points in a Game 1 of a playoff series.
Want some more historical perspective of Game 1? Okay. Dirk took the 2nd fewest shots ever for a player that scores 40+ in a playoff game. He scored 48. It was the top shooting performance in Conference Finals history.
When Dirk got a short rest on the bench, backup Mavs point guard JJ Barea led the way. Doing most of his damage in the pick and roll, Barea scored 21 points in only 16 minutes on the floor. Early in the 4th quarter, he scored 12 straight points for Dallas.
The Mavericks have not lost a home playoff game this postseason. Game 2 is Thursday in Dallas, with an 8:00 scheduled tip-off.