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This year Thunder closing out close wins, up 2-0 on Mavericks

May 1, 2012, 2:53 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder- Game Two Getty Images

Last season in the Western Conference Finals, the Mavericks and Thunder played each other close, but when it came time to execute under pressure at the end it was Dallas making the plays. Dirk Nowitzki was a legendary player who could not seem to miss.

This year the torch has been passed.

For the second game in a row it came down to the final minute and for the second game in a row the Thunder made the pays. This time it wasn’t Kevin Durant with a fortunate bounce on a last second shot, it was Nowitzki and Jason Terry missing late three pointers, Oklahoma City hitting its free throws and holding on on for a 102-99 win.

The Thunder are now up 2-0 and Dallas goes home for what is a virtual must win — they are not winning four in a row. They need to hold serve on their home court.

Mavericks fans can easily say that they are just a couple bounces away from being up 2-0 in this series. They are right, which is why they should have hope.

But the Thunder have won two games with Kevin Durant shooting a combined 15-40 — he is going to find his groove. Although tip your cap to Shawn Marion who has played well on defense.

Russell Westbrook has had to be the man for the Thunder — for those of you who say he needs to be more of a traditional point guard, these games show why OKC needs him to be a scorer. He had 29 in this one. The Thunder also have James Harden, who just makes smart plays late — he had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in the fourth quarter alone.

For Dallas, it’s just the little things. And some lucky bounces. Dallas shot 33 percent in the fourth quarter of this game, if they can knock down just a few more shots they win it. The kind of shots that fell for them last year. Meanwhile Derek Fisher is scoring 11 for the Thunder.

This series is getting chippy and physical, like we expect of playoff basketball. Nowitzki and Kendrick Perkins pushed and had words after Serge Ibaka had taken an elbow to he face.

While Dallas is in a tight spot down 2-0 it doesn’t feel hopeless — they are not getting dominated. They could easily take the next two and make this a best out of three. The Thunder win either one of the next two and they will be in total command. But to do that they are going to have to play a better — improve their ball movement, get Durant going, play better defense.

The Mavericks are the defending champions, they will not go quietly.

  1. edweird0 - May 1, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    It’s crazy to think that this is only the first round. Playoff basketball at its finest.

  2. storebrandcookies - May 1, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    If your a Mav’s fan like I am you have to be happy for the effort of the Mavericks. This series has boiled down to last minute execution and physical play.

    The Mavs have a slight chance but it’ll take luck and a couple calls going there way.

  3. joegalvan02 - May 1, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    great first 2 games, hopefully we get 6 or 7. outside of the Clips 4th quarter comeback… this is the only series that has been remotely close or entertaining.

    also… Ibaka slapped Dirk in the face (unintentionally) while closing out on a shot…. then Perk and Dirk got chippy on the next possession. i have no clue what the hell you’re talking about. Dirk and Serge bumped up and down the court… but that was the extent of their drama. no one hit ibaka in the face.

    • ntur1 - May 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Agreed that Dirk did not elbow Ibaka. On a later play Dirk elbowed Westbrook in the face (not Ibaka).

  4. md23rewlz - May 1, 2012 at 5:43 AM

    As a Mavs fan, these games are just frustrating. So many little things across the spectrum in both games: Ibaka hitting a random three in what ended up being a one-point game a few nights ago. Derek Fisher’s corpse somehow scoring in double figures tonight. Kevin Durant getting an absurdly lucky bounce on a shot that was defended perfectly. Dirk missing a wide open three tonight. OKC hitting almost literally everything from the free throw line (I know they are a great FT shooting team, but when the likes of Kendrick Perkins are knocking them down, it’s weird). etc etc.. Not much you can really do when the games are basically coming down to a coin flip. A play here, a play there and the series is different, but in the end, we’re talking about a four-point margin of victory COMBINED between two games. I demand that the basketball gods appreciate it and give us a long series. You know, if only to wash the taste of the New York/Miami series out of our collective mouth.

    • lyndseymarieee - May 1, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Perkins is actually a good free throw shooter. I’m not sure of his percentage and I don’t believe he gets to the line much but every time I see him up there he’s knocking him down.

      • lyndseymarieee - May 1, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        knocking them*

    • bigmeechy74 - May 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      Dallas makes more points off of bad possessions than any team i have ever seen. They nearly turn it over and okc will come inches away from making a steal and then dallas will nail a 3. They are so slow and boring and un-athletic. They are pure drudgery to watch. They remind me of those awful knicks and heat teams from the late 90s and early 2000s. The uglier the game, the better chance for them to win. It would be a terrible thing if they were to advance. Let’s keep some young, exciting teams in these playoffs that are FUN to watch. Which is the exact opposite of Dallas. If they lose, good riddance.

  5. mungman69 - May 1, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    Dallas can still win this series but

  6. ducksouped - May 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Rick Carlisle Looks exactly like fire Marshall bill

  7. d214tx - May 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I’m actually surprised how the macs at playing extremely well. Im expecting this to go to a 7 game series

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