Thunder: A Second Look At OKC's Game 1 Domination Over Dallas


Sunday, April 17th 2016, 6:26 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger


What a Saturday night it was for the Thunder, as OKC’s favorite squad --draped in its newly popular white sleeved jerseys-- throttled a Mavericks team that had previously won seven of its last nine games to earn a spot in the postseason. The scoreboard flashed 108-70 when the final buzzer rang, but one could argue the contest was even more lopsided than that, with OKC clutching a 42 point lead after only three quarters.

Before we look forward to Game 2 on Monday night, let’s look back at where the Thunder was thriving in Game 1:

Serge Ibaka brought his “A” game

After a season of up-and-down play, Ibaka’s performance in the Game 1 win was anything but that as Air Congo poured in 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. While his offensive play was efficient, Ibaka’s defense looked reminiscent of 2012 when he averaged 3.7 blocks per game. Against Dallas on Saturday, Ibaka recorded three swats, but his presence alone forced the Mavericks into tough shots throughout his 28 minutes of rim protecting.

In order for the Thunder to make a deep run throughout the playoffs, OKC’s role players will need to knock down open shots, and Ibaka’s dead-eye from behind the arc was an encouraging sign. Ibaka drained all three of his 3-pointers, while also picking up an offensive rebound to go with his nine total boards.

DEFENSE!! Clap-Clap

It’s likely the Mavericks will want to burn the box score from Game 1, seeing Dallas totaled a paltry 11 points in the first quarter and finished with a franchise postseason low 70 points. OKC was downright gritty on the defensive end of the floor, as the Thunder held the Mavericks to only 29.8 percent shooting and only 4-of-18 from behind the arc.

Everyone on the Thunder defense was in-tune with what the Mavericks were trying to do, and with Dallas constantly trying to slow the game down, OKC would pounce as the Mavs’ allotted 24 seconds per possession would tick down and force Dallas into a few shot clock violations. Only five Dallas field goals were made in the first half by someone not named Dirk Nowitzki.

Whether it was Andre Roberson’s length, or Russell Westbrook’s pesky nature to swarm the ball at the sound of a dribble, the Thunder was suffocating Dallas throughout the first three quarters especially while dominating the boards to the tune of a 56-33 advantage.

Attack of the Thunder Buddies

Both Westbrook and Kevin Durant are two of the best players in the entire NBA, and they showed the basketball world why that is on Saturday night. The duo dominated the Mavericks early and often with as they combined to shoot 14-for-30 from the field with 16 total assists.

When Durant checked out of the game for good with 4:43 left in the third quarter, KD and Westbrook had outscored the entire Mavericks team 43-42 up to that point in the game and then had the luxury of resting throughout the entire fourth quarter.

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Here's another look at OKC's Game 1 win over the Mavericks where the Thunder dominated on both ends of the court for four quarters. 

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