“One thing you never want with Dallas,” said Alex Roig in the Pregame Primer, “is a close game with Dirk Nowitzki on the floor.” Unfortunately, that’s what the Thunder got for Game 2: nothing at all like the laughable blowout Saturday night, though Dirk wasn’t that much of a factor. It turned out that he wouldn’t have to be. This time around, the Mavs were ready to roll, and they rolled to an eight-point lead early while the Thunder seemed to be napping. The wakeup call came soon enough, but Dallas, after falling behind by seven halfway through the fourth quarter, went off for an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead. You’d figure that this would be the sort of thing that would spur Kevin Durant to going All KD. This was, however, not the night for All KD. With just under ten seconds left, Durant finally nailed a trey, his second in 11 tries; unfortunately, the Mavs had been up four. Raymond Felton obligingly missed a pair of free throws, but neither Durant nor Serge Ibaka could score on the last Thunder possession, and a Steven Adams stickback was just a fraction of a second too late. Dallas 85, Oklahoma City 84, and the series goes to Dallas even up.
It’s rare you see the Thunder shooting under 34 percent. But that’s what happened tonight, with Durant going an absolutely abominable 7-33 for his 21 points. (Felton, who picked up 21 for the Mavs, did so on 16 shots.) Even with KD’s numbers factored out, the Thunder was shooting only 40 percent for the night, with only Ibaka and Russell Westbrook in double figures. Statistically, the Mavs were not a great deal better; but they were better the one place where it mattered. If they had a secret weapon tonight, it was Salah Mejri, who turned in a plus-18 with 5-7 shooting (12 points) and three blocks.
The Loud City crowd, of course, was stunned after that Adams putback was negated. I’m just trying to imagine how much worse it could have been if Deron Williams had been able to stay in the game, or if J. J. Barea had been well.
Game 3 in Dallas on Thursday. Durant should be awake by then, right?