Dirk gives clinic as Mavs top Thunder

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-112 to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  The Mavericks took a 46-45 lead at the 2:48 mark of the second quarter and never trailed again in the contest.

Dirk Nowitzki notched his first 40-point effort of the postseason with a playoff-high 48 points (12-15 FGs, 24-24 FTs) on Tuesday. The 48 points were two shy of his playoff career-high (50 vs. Phoenix 6/1/06). He went 24-of-24 from the line, including 13-of-13 from the line in the third quarter alone.  The 24 free throws made marked a playoff career-high (previous 21-of-24 vs. San Antonio 5/13/06).  It also set an NBA Playoff record for the most free throws made without a miss (Paul Pierce held the record with 21, Boston at Indiana, 4/19/03). It was the second time he’s made 13 free throws in a quarter this postseason. Nowitzki tied Michael Jordan’s playoff record for the most free throws made in a quarter when he went 13-of-13 from the line in the fourth quarter of Game 1 vs. Portland on April 16 (Jordan made 13 free throws in one period against Detroit in Game 2 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals on 5/21/91).

The Mavericks went 34-of-36 (.944) from the line, while the Thunder finished 37-of-43 (.860).

J.J. Barea, who tallied a playoff career-high 22 points in Game 4 vs. Los Angeles on May 8, scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting on Tuesday. He hadn’t scored more than 14 points in a playoff game prior to this postseason.

The Mavericks’ bench outscored the Thunder’s bench 53-22 in the game. Jason Terry (24) and J.J. Barea (21) combined for 45 of Dallas’ 53 bench points.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant (28.9 ppg) and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (26.5 ppg) entered Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals series ranked first and fourth in postseason scoring, respectively. Both players made their first six shots in the contest. Nowitzki, who recorded 17 points in the closeout win over the Lakers on May 8, went 8-of-9 from the field in the first half and led all scorers with 21 points at the break. Durant shot 6-of-8 from the floor in the opening 24 minutes and had a team-high 17 points at intermission. Both players also led their teams in rebounding in the first half, as they each recorded five boards apiece.

The Mavericks won their seventh straight playoff game. They improved to 6-0 at home this postseason.

The series resumes Thursday at 8:00pm in Dallas.