Thunder defense has been sporadically, perhaps even legendarily, iffy, which makes me wonder if the discussion in the locker room today was along the lines of “Screw it, let’s just score all over the place.” Which they did, starting from the tipoff; OKC led by six after the first quarter, ten at the half, nineteen after three, and they weren’t done yet. With J. J. Barea back, the Mavericks were bound to show some offense now and then — they shot a respectable 47 percent — but with 3:48 left and Dallas down 28, somewhere in his accoutrements Rick Carlisle found a white flag, and ultimately Game 3 went to the visitors, 131-102.
Clearly some things got shaken up a bit. The usual Russell Westbrook double-double — 26 points, 15 assists — came with no rebounds whatsoever. (The Thunder did have a 42-30 rebounding edge.) OKC shot 58 percent from the floor, and sank 15 of 27 treys; on-again off-again Dion Waiters was on again, with four of those treys and 21 points. Kevin Durant, after a horrible night earlier this week, jubilantly collected 34.
It wasn’t like the Mavs were terrible, either: Wesley Matthews, about due for some breakout scoring, led Dallas with 22, and the usual suspects turned in lines with double figures. (Raymond Felton and Steven Adams had words, then actions, then offsetting technicals.) Unexpectedly, every Maverick was on the minus side for the night, Devin Harris, at -30, being the minus-est. Harris did distinguish himself with five fouls, though. And if there was any dancing at the AA, Charlie Villanueva didn’t mention it.
Game 4 will be in Dallas Saturday night, after which the series comes back to OKC. We’re sort of hoping it ends there.