By Suave Francisco
The Oklahoma City Thunder are back on track once again, rebounding off of Monday's loss pretty efficiently with a 131-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks to go up 2-1 in this first round series.
Well...That took a lot of words out of my mouth. Kevin was clearly in a better mood following a game three victory and seemed to be relieved like this was really bothering him for the past three days. Understabndable. He definitely got over whatever funk he was in on Monday by scoring 34 points, off 11-25 shooting which isn't great, but it's acceptable. We will take the 34 points, though. Not to mention, 31 of those came in just three quarters, only scoring three in the final one.
Luckily, KD wasn't the only one with a great game. Four other players had big games as well, contributing in a big way. Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, and Dion Waiters combined for 116 points alone. Kanter finished with 21, only missing one shot and Russell had a very efficient night with 26 points and 15 assists, on 9-16 shooting. Surprisingly, he didn't get one rebound which was baffling to everyone, even him. The last time he didn't have a rebound was the second game of this season. That didn't matter though, the Thunder still won the rebounding battle 42-30. However, Serge Ibaka continued his elevated play in the postseason with 16 points, hitting 77.7 percent of his attempted shots. That type of play from Ibaka is exactly what we've been asking out of him all season! I'm just happy he's doing it now.
Dion Waiters may have been the surprise factor of this game with 19 points...which isn't too surprising, right? What if I said he shot 7-11 from the field? That sounds better. An efficient Dion Waiters, along with an efficient Russell, Kevin, Enes, and Serge almost always results in a successful night for the team.
Steven Adams wasn't as effective on the stat-sheet, but he definitely stirred up the game with typical Steven antics. For a second, I thought he and Raymond Felton were going to fight. That sure would've been a sight to see. Some call Adams a dirty player but I just think he's a physical big. Physicality; something the NBA has apparently outlawed.
Defensively, there are still a few let-downs. Letting a crippled Dallas team score their season average 102 points isn't acceptable. It may fly in this series, but letting teams score with ease will not fly if they want to get past presumably, the San Antonio Spurs and, God forbid the Golden State Warriors. Just like OKC, five Dallas players scored in double-figures. Our five just scored more.
The Thunder look to leave Dallas with a 3-1 lead so they can close this series in OKC on Monday, but first they have to get one more win on Saturday in Dallas.
- OKC's biggest lead was 31. Dallas never led in this game.
- Kanter had a playoff career high in points with 21. Before this game, his high was 16.
Not sure if you've noticed but when Dion shoots the ball contested or uncontested, he tends to fade back a little bit. Most of the shots missed are short. So, if he would jump straight up in the air when he shoots, one would think his shooting percentage would go up.
Kyle Singler didn't play.
Cameron Payne almost got four minutes, and Josh Heustis hit a corner three.