Despite leading in the final minute of both games, the Dallas Mavericks now head back home down 2 games in this best of 7 series after blowing another late lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder and dropping game 2 102-99.
Kevin Durant hit 2 clutch free throws with 50.8 seconds left and James Harden nailed his last 4 to put the game out of reach for good.
DALLAS MAVERICKS DOWN….BUT NOT OUT
For the second straight game, the Mavericks throughly outplayed the Oklahoma City Thunder, yet still find themselves down 2 games in the series.
Dirk Nowitzki had himself yet another all around stellar performance shooting the basketball, finishing with 31 points on 10 of 19 shooting. He also made all 11 of his foul shots.
Dirk also showed an uncharacteristic physicality, toughness and attitude when dealing with some Thunder defenders (Ibaka and Perkins).
A couple of Dallas Maverick players who had great showings in game 1 were unable to follow up on their efforts in game 2.
Vince Carter had an off day from the field going 2 for 9 shooting and finishing with just 5 points on the night. Guard Jason Terry was also unable to get the “Kevin Durant bounce” at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime after attempting 2 straight three-point shots with the game clock winding down.
Despite all of that, the Mavericks were very much in this game and did in fact have the lead in the dying moments. A stupid foul by Jason Terry and big free throws by Kevin Durant and James Harden were the Mavericks downfall in this one.
The series may be 2-0 in favour of the Thunder, but the Mavericks are still very much alive in this series. Their 2 losses in Oklahoma City came by a combined 4 points. If Dallas can learn to close out games more efficiently (this series should really be tied or 2-0 Mavericks), then they can claw their way back at home and tie this series at 2 a piece.
FREE THROWS SAVE THE THUNDER
The Thunders ability to draw fouls at an effective rate and get to the line was the story of this game.
Oklahoma City shot an incredible 95% from the free throw line after hitting 37 of 39 from the charity stripe. Stars Russell Westbrook and James Harden combined for 18 for 18 makes and center Kendrick Perkins (a career 60% free throw shooter) made all 5 of his shots.
Kevin Durants 14 of 16 makes from the free throw line saved what would have been otherwise an unproductive day for the leagues leading scorer. He did finish the game with a solid double-double (26 points and 10 rebounds) but he only hit 5 of his 17 field goal attempts and turned over the ball 7 times in the process.
The team also got a nice performance from former Lakers guard Derek Fisher off the bench, as he went 5 for 6 and finished with 13 points. He also nailed a key three pointer in the fourth quarter for OKC.
QUOTES OF THE GAME
‘‘We come away from these two games disappointed but not dismayed. You tip your hat to the fact that they have made some big time plays. Now, we’ve got to go home and do the same.” – Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle (yahoo)
”We’re just a couple bounces away from being up 2-0. It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but we’re going to keep coming. We’re not going to lay down. If they beat us, we’re going to make them earn it.’‘ – Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (yahoo)
TWEET OF THE GAME
Dirk Nowitzki pushes around Kendrick Perkins with authority! No one intimidates the German Mongoose! This IS the NBA Playoffs! #ThrowItDown
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 1, 2012
– Does anyone out there have any reason to believe that this series isn’t going 7 games now? For entertainment purposes, let’s all hope it does.
– I offer a high-five to anyone who stayed up to watch this game in its entirety. 60+ free throws can make for some long tedious basketball. The game was exciting, but I can only put up with seeing so many foul shots before falling asleep.
GAME 3: Oklahoma City at Dallas, Thu., May 3, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports