DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki showed no rust from a long layoff, making 10 of his first 11 shots and an NBA playoff-record 24 straight free throws on the way to 48 points, leading the Mavericks to a 121-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals last night.
Jason Terry scored 24 points and J.J. Barea added 21 points as the Mavericks picked up where they left off in a sweep of the Lakers 9 days before. They broke open a tight game with a 13-0 run late in the second quarter and never trailed again, stretching their franchise-record postseason winning streak to seven games.
Game 2 is tomorrow night in Dallas, where the Mavs are 6-0 this postseason.
The Thunder - fresh off a seven-game series against Memphis that included a total of four overtimes - led by nine early in the second quarter, then went 6:28 between baskets. They missed 10 shots during that drought and were down by 11 when it ended. They eventually trailed by 16 before clawing within five points with 3:42 left, and six with 48.5 seconds to play.
Kevin Durant followed his 39 points in Game 7 of the previous round by scoring 40, one shy of his most ever in a playoff game. While Nowitzki dominated, Durant's scoring binge merely helped his team stay close.