By Suave Francisco
This was just one of those games for our Oklahoma City Thunder. Things looked promising when the Thunder found out they were playing the Dallas Mavericks as they swept them 4-0 in the regular season, and things didn't change much for game one of the playoffs as they make Dallas look like a team in the YMCA's senior league, blowing them out 108-70.
From the start of the game, til the ending they controlled this one, getting out to a 12-2 run the first 3:30 of the game. Seemingly shortly after that, the Thunder led 26-11 at the end of the first quarter and it just got worse. Not only was this the best defense OKC played all season, this may be among the top three defensive performances of the year. In the first half, Dallas shot 26.2 percent from the field and that percentage only improved a tad bit by the end of the game at 29.8 percent. Offensively, Oklahoma City shot right around 50 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Billy Donovan's rotation looked solid tonight, other than Kyle Singler playing more than 10 minutes. Let's just assume that was because Cameron Payne sat this game out with a sore hip, okay? Okay.
The bench looked great as well, coming into the game as a group at the beginning of the fourth quarter, up 42 points and managed to maintain the lead, for the most part. I'm convinced that this team can be a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors if they continue this defensive intensity, and from the looks of it, sweep the Dallas Mavericks. This Dallas team simply doesn't match up well with the athleticism of Oklahoma City at any position. The back-court is stronger and faster than the Mavericks and so is the front-court. Let's hope this team continues the dominance throughout.
Although the starters didn't play in the final quarter, Russell Westbrook still managed to score 24 points, collect 11 rebounds and dish out five assists. Kevin Durant also started this game out on fire and continued until he sat down, finishing with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Enes Kanter continued the dominance off the bench and helped his Sixth Man of the Year campaign with 16 points and 13 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play. Serge Ibaka may have been the surprising individual of this game, at times seemingly reverting back to his old ways which is great. He finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds off 7-8 shooting and a perfect 3-3 from 3-point range.
This is an exciting time for Thunder fans and frankly, local media members as well. This is virtually another season for the 16 teams in the playoffs so looking at performance during the season often times isn't a good assessment of the way a team will play in the playoffs. The complaint about this Oklahoma City team all season was a lack of defense, and this is what happens the first game of the playoffs. Game two will be in Oklahoma City again, with game three and four in Dallas. So, if OKC looks for a sweep, the determining game will be in Dallas.