The Oklahoma City Thunder won their opening round matchup against the Dallas Mavericks with a 118-104 home victory on Monday night. Dirk Nowitzki and his fellow veterans on the Mavericks deserve a ton of credit for making the five games as competitive as could be expected given the matchup and lack of team health. Dallas showed a ton of grit throughout the series with guards J.J. Barea (groin), Deron Williams (sports hernia, through three games), Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews doing their best to battle with OKC’s perimeter-heavy attack, but the Thunder’s dynamic duo were true to form in the series. Dallas reserves Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell each played sparingly for the Mavericks throughout the season, but really showed some positive signs for their eventual development down the stretch and as the series wore on.
Ultimately Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and their entire supporting cast were simply too much for Dallas to overcome. Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists for the series, while Westbrook really helped seal-the-deal with a near triple-double (36 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) in the clincher on his way to averaging 26 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game over the five game set. Reserve big man Enes Kanter was huge in Oklahoma City’s first three wins of the series, but was slowed by an undisclosed rib/abdomen issue after taking a shot to the mid-section during Monday’s action.
An absence would be significant, as Kanter’s bench production was a big part of OKC’s success throughout the year and he’ll be important against a rested San Antonio Spurs team that is currently waiting to host them in the second round. The Spurs absolutely steam-rolled a somewhat depleted Memphis Grizzlies team, and are ready for Game 1 of the second round to kick off from San Antonio a bit later in the week.
The two teams split the season series (2-2) with the most recent victory going to the Spurs (102-98 in overtime) coming just about two weeks ago in San Antonio. The teams have faced one another twice in the postseason over the past five years (2013 and 2014), also splitting the the match-up with San Antonio winning the most recent series in the 2014 Western Conference Finals.
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