Future Hall of Famer and current Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was asked prior to game one what it would take for his team to win the series. He response essentially said that his team would need to slow the game down in order to be successful. In game one The Thunder played really fast and the Mavericks were far from successful. The Thunder jumped all over the them early en route to a 26-11 lead after the first quarter. By halftime it was 59-33 and the outcome of game one was already decided. The Mavericks are going to need to make whatever adjustments they can in a short period with game 2 coming up Monday Night in Oklahoma City.
There weren’t many positives for Dallas in Game 2. Nowitzki came to play as usual with 18 points and he was the only maverick in double figures. They elected to start J.J Barea and Deron Williams in a two point guard backcourt. Don’t be surprised if coach Rick Carlisle makes some changes in the starting lineup for game 2. There aren’t many options but they will need to find something to get off to a better start. The obvious focus will be on slowing down the Thunder transition game which is much easier said than done. Carlisle’s tremendous track record and the greatness of Nowitzki are the only two things that give the Mavericks any hope of putting up a fight on the road in game 2.
The Thunder were dominant front start to finish and managed to get through game one with no player logging more than 30 minutes. For the last two seasons the Thunder have entered the playoffs with injury concerns in one form or another. They enter these playoffs with a full roster that is both healthy and deep. Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 24 points and 11 assists. Kevin Durant had 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Serge Ibaka had 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Off the bench Enes Kanter had 16 points and 13 rebounds as the Thunder dominated the game in all aspects for 48 minutes. All 12 players in uniform played and if the Thunder play at this pace for the rest of the series then we are staring down the barrel of a sweep.
You can never underestimate the heart of a champion and both Carlisle and Nowitzki are certainly champions. After the lopsided performance in game one the first few minutes of game 2 will be critical to the Mavericks chances. If the Thunder get out to a quick lead again all of the memories from game 1 will come rushing back and before you blink the game will be out of reach already. Expect them to focus on what they can control which is how they execute out of their half-court offense. The Thunder are going to come in with a ton of confidence and it is likely that game 2 will look a lot like game 1.
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