Dribble penetrations led to the Mavericks' bigs being forced to help and leaving the 6-foot-10 Ibaka to catch and throw down. Of his season-high 22 points in Oklahoma City's Game 1, 12 came via the dunk.
"That's just because of the breakdown at the beginning of the play," said Mavs guard Jason Kidd. "We've got to limit our mistakes at the beginning because that's where he did get a lot of the finishes is because of the breakdown at the beginning. So if we can limit that then hopefully he doesn't get as many in Game 1."
It puts a lot of pressure on the Mavs' defenders, all at least 10 years older than OKC's three playmakers and not as quick -- with the exception of Delonte West -- to stay in front of their man and not allow penetration into the lane. Once Durant, Westbrook or James Harden get by their man, it forces the Mavs' forwards or center to come off Ibaka to prevent the layup.
Delonte West said after Monday morning's shootaround that he is back to full strength after playing through Game 1 with a stomach bug that sapped his energy. So he should be able to give Westbrook (28 points, five assists in Game 1) a better fight. Kidd, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion will have to do a better job keeping the Thunder out on the perimeter and not in the paint.
"It's help defense and we just have to stay in front our man from the beginning," Carter said.