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Thunder notebook: Game 1 physical and full of defense

Notebook from Saturday's nights game from Chesapeake arena where the Oklahoma City Thunder bested the Dallas Mavericks in game 1 of their playoff series.
Oklahoman Modified: April 29, 2012 at 11:07 am •  Published: April 29, 2012

"He's a great athlete," Mahinmi said of Ibaka, who finished with 22 points (9 for 12 from the field) six rebounds and five blocked shots. "On defense, he changes a lot of shots. You've got to pay attention when he's on the floor. Obviously, beating him is going to be a big part of us winning games. We've got to do a good job on him next time, make sure offensively that we respect his outside shooting. We've got to respect him going to the glass, make sure we box him out. He's a very good athlete.

"We know Serge, we've just got to respect his game. He's a helluva player."


The Thunder led the NBA in turnovers during the regular season with 16.3 per game.

In Game 1, OKC actually finished below its average with 14, but the Mavs capitalized by turning them into 27 points.

Dallas actually had one more turnover, which the Thunder turned into 22 points. Nine of Dallas' 15 turnovers came in the second half.

"We gave it to them," Marion said. "Those (late) turnovers cost the game."


In what has become a playoff game tradition every game, a sellout crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena once again was greeted with a free T-shirt at each seat. Saturday's color was blue. Fans not wearing their T-shirt were shown on the scoreboard and summarily booed.

With six minutes left in pregame warm-ups, the crowd erupted to what was shown on the scoreboard screen. It was a list of this season's scoring leaders, with Durant's name on top and Russell Westbrook listed fifth.

Durant and Westbrook, standing side-by-side in the layup line, both smiled.


Here is the remaining best-of-seven series schedule: Game 2 – Monday at 8:30 p.m., OKC; Game 3 – Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Dallas; Game 4 – Next Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Dallas; Game 5, if necessary – Saturday at TBA, OKC; Game 6, if necessary – May 10 at TBA, Dallas; Game 7, if necessary – May 12 at TBA, OKC.


Nowitzki, on the Mavs being 7-8 in games decided by three points or less: "(Last year) we came up with those bounces and we were the ones on top. Too many times in close games, I think we have a losing record in those games. It's tough. It's definitely as tough a loss as you can get."



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