The Oklahoma City Thunder found a way to put its I-35 rivals, the Dallas Mavericks, away early and never looked back. The Thunder led by as many as 32 points in the 112-91 victory. Kevin Durant had 19 points and 10 rebounds, as Oklahoma City won its ninth straight over the Mavericks, improving the record to 36-12 on the season.
Despite Dallas’ best effort in the early part of the game, the Thunder found a way to overcome a small Mavericks lead. Russell Westbrook spurred the Thunder to an early 11-6 lead. Dallas later grabbed its last lead of the game at 16-15 with 5:30 left in the first quarter, when Elton Brand hit a wide open jump shot from the free throw line. Oklahoma City closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to break the tie and to give the Thunder its lead and the game.
In the second quarter, Oklahoma City decided that there would be no overtime this time around. Starting out the quarter, the Thunder jumped off an 19-8 run, grabbing the first double-digit lead. Durant wasn’t done. Back-to-back three-pointers pushed the lead near 20 points. Then Westbrook nailed a couple of free throws to give Oklahoma City the 52-32 lead with 5:02 left in the quarter.
The 39-point quarter was just a quarter of efficiency. Oklahoma City made 14-of-19 shots (73.7 percent), and a blistering 3-of-4 from three-point range. The Mavericks just couldn’t make a stop on defense. However, The Thunder had no such problems with Dallas. The Mavericks made just 39 percent of shots in the quarter, while turning the ball over five times in the frame.
Oklahoma City’s 68 points at halftime tied a season-high for points at the half.
A lot of times coming out of the break, teams are known for getting back into games, or at least showing effort. The Thunder stopped any notion of that really early. Midway through the third quarter, with the 17-12 quarter advantage, Oklahoma City looked up and all of a sudden was up 29 points.
Westbrook was just really fantastic in the third quarter. He made 3-of-5 shots and forced one turnover. Poor Mike James and Darren Collison were just in for a rude awakening after Westbrook’s embarrassing defensive performance against Kyrie Irving.
Oklahoma City led by 25 heading into the fourth quarter and the reserves never let up; something we’re not too used to seeing. We were able to watch Reggie Jackson help the Thunder Pups push the lead up to as much as 32 points in the quarter. Dallas finally started to do something toward the end, but the game was never really in doubt.
Keys to the Game
Defending the Paint: B
Oklahoma City found a way to limit the Mavericks in the paint. Dallas scored 42 points in the paint tonight. However, that number is slightly diluted. The Mavericks scored 16 points in the paint against reserves in the fourth quarter. You cannot hold that number against the starters. Good job tonight.
Finish Strong: A
Ending quarters has been a sore point for the Thunder all season long. Oklahoma City did well in three of the four quarters tonight. Heck, they did great. Oklahoma City outscored the Mavericks by a total of 15 points, pushing a close game into a blowout. That’s what champions do.
Fast Break Points: A+
25-11. Oklahoma City had outscored the Mavericks 21-2 at halftime. That is already above the season average for the Thunder. Had the starters played in the fourth quarter, it could have been a lot higher, maybe around the 40 mark.
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