News, notes and observations from Tuesday’s 99-86 Thunder win.
- I told Berry Tramel before the game that the Thunder would win if it held Dirk Nowitzki to less than 25 points. Dirk had 24. That makes me an expert on all things Thunder, right? Right?
- Seriously, the Thunder played a serious game of ball against a team that has owned this franchise over the past few seasons. The Thunder held the Mavs to 11 points in the third quarter and hampered them into 3-for-21 shooting. The Mavs shot just 7 of 24 in the final frame.
- Dallas’ 32.3 percent shooting set a Thunder opponent season-low. OKC’s previous opponent season-low was 35.4 percent against Chicago.
- Before Dirk went 2-for-12 in the second half, he actually looked like he was about to carry the Mavs to yet another thrashing of the Thunder. He came out with purpose from the very start. He had that look on his face, the expression that let you know he was about business and stopping his team’s slumping ways. Then he picked up his second foul with eight minutes left in the first quarter and it seemed the Thunder would benefit from him being on the bench. The Thunder even peeled off four straight to make it 10-9. Then Dallas outscored the Thunder 14-2 to go up 23-12.
- James Harden brought the Thunder back. He did a phenomenal job of catching and shooting, both when coming off screens and as a standstill assassin. His 10 points and four assists helped the Thunder to its 40 point second quarter.
- Dirk, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry shot a combined 20 of 64. I don’t think Dallas is going to win many games like that.
- I have no idea whether Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson will help Dallas in the playoffs. But they certainly give the Mavs more options and could make Dallas dangerous if everyone gets on the same page soon.
- The Mavs trotted out a small lineup of Jason Kidd, Terry, Marion, Butler and Haywood at one point in the first quarter and it made me think of all the options Rick Carlisle now has. He could put Dirk with that group and be really good.
- Scott Brooks praised Jeff Green about 132 times in his postgame press conference for his defense on Dirk. Green’s effort was worthy of each mention.
- Kevin Durant BARELY got his 25th point, extending his streak to 26 straight games. He hit a runner with 26.6 seconds remaining and immediately busted into a smile when he got it.
- Don’t know if it has anything to do with coming off his first All-Star selection, but Durant is starting to bark at the refs a bit. He was all over the crew in the first quarter tonight. I say good for him. It’s about time he gets more star calls.
- And this crew deserved it tonight. A lot of shaky calls. Refs must have been rusty from All-Star weekend.
- Nine turnovers for the Thunder tonight, leading to just four Mavs points. That helped secure this win.
- So did the Thunder’s 18 fast break points, a point of emphasis Brooks stressed.
- All these years later Eduardo Najera still gets a healthy ovation from the Sooners’ faithful, which showed their respect when he entered the game for the first time with 3:02 left in the first.
- Dallas center Erick Dampier remained in Oklahoma City after the game to have surgery on his dislocated finger, an injury he sustained in the fourth quarter. He’s expected to meet the team in Dallas on Wednesday.
- Say what you will about the aging Kidd. But he caught a few long rebounds tonight and darted up the court with speed that made him look almost like the Kidd of old. It looked like no one could catch him at times tonight, even Russell Westbrook.
- Collison was good on the offensive glass and great with his all-around performance. Eight points, nine boards, three blocked shots.
- Serge Ibaka showed his testiness once again, swinging his arms wildly after attacking the rim and (I think) unintentionally busting Caron Butler in the face. Class act (I think) by Butler to come over and tap the rookie on the chest a few times and calm him down. But for all I know, Butler could have politely said he was going to bust his…if he pulled that again.
BY THE NUMBERS
7: Game winning streak for OKC.
10: Blocked shots by the Thunder.
12: Biggest lead by Dallas.
17: Biggest lead by the Thunder.
32.3: Percent shooting by the Mavs, an opponent season-low for the Thunder.
40: Points in the second quarter for OKC, a season-high.
73.9: Percent shooing by the Thunder in the second quarter.
18,203: Announced attendance inside the Ford Center, a sellout.