Durant, Westbrook Combine For 60 As Thunder Crush Mavericks
Kevin Durant (34 points, 7 rebounds, 11-25 FG) and Russell Westbrook (26 points, 15 assists, 9-16 FG) combined for 60 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder crushed the Dallas Mavericks 131-102 Thursday to assert a 2-1 series lead in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.Advertisement
The build-up to Game 3 was marred by the “feud” between Westbrook and Mavs veteran Charlie Villanueva who exchanged barbs after the controversial Game 2 which saw Durant miss 26 shots and Mavs win on the road. Westbrook responded to the criticism by often looking over at Villanueva (seated on the bench) during the course of the game, especially after every assist or point. |Final Box Score|
Though Durant continued to struggle from deep, hitting only 3 of his 9 attempted threes, the former MVP regained some of his rhythm after a forgettable Game 2 which saw him tie Michael Jordan’s dubious record of most missed shots in a playoff game. “I just made shots. Nothing more than that. I was able to get to my spots and knock ’em down,” Durant said after the victory.
Kanter, Waiters come up big…
The hostile Dallas crowd tried to will Mavs back into the game but the Thunder’s firepower proved too much in the end. Also, the Thunder benefitted hugely by the combined 40 points from second-unit players Enes Kanter (21 points, 8 rebounds) and Dion Waiters (19 points, 4-8 3pt). It was an all-round clinical performance by Thunder who outscored Mavs 73-54 in the second half.
In another interesting stat, Thunder made a new franchise playoff record with 15 three-pointers being hit by 8 different players. That augers well for the team heading deeper into the postseason. Just knowing that there is enough firepower in the bench to hit crucial shots.
For the Mavs, JJ Barea returned to the starting unit and made an instant impact with 15 points and 7 assists. Wesley Mathews top-scored with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals while Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. However, Rick Carlisle’s team failed to get any production from the second unit, with only rookie Justin Anderson (12 points) getting into double digits. Deron Williams sat out of the game, making way for Barea, but there was no explanation offered from Carlisle.
The teams will remain in Dallas for Game 4 on Saturday. Will Kevin Durant help Thunder take a 3-1 lead? Or can the Mavs will their way back into the series?