Thunder move to slow Nowitzki, Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have won seven straight postseason games, with their last loss coming in Game 4 of the first round against the Trail Blazers -- nearly a month ago. The Mavericks are 6-0 at home this postseason; they have won nine straight home games including the regular season and last lost at home on April 6 to the Nuggets.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are just 2-4 on the road in this postseason, but are 6-1 at home. They are allowing 106.3 points per game (-3.1 PPG margin) on the road and just 95.3 at home (+8.8).

The story in Game 1 involved Dirk Nowitzki. The Thunder fouled Nowitzki 16 times, sending him to the line 24 times. Nowitzki made all 24 free throws, the most in a game without a miss in the history of the NBA (regular or postseason).

Nowitzki Fouls Drawn
By Defender Game 1

Seven different players picked up at least one foul on Nowitzki, including Serge Ibaka, who got all five of his when guarding the Dallas star.

It was clear from the start that the Mavericks’ plan was for Nowitzki to be aggressive. In three of the four quarters, he took his first shot attempt within the first 63 seconds. In the second quarter, his first shot took just over three minutes.

Nowitzki was very effective in post-up situations, primarily posting up on the right block. In 15 plays on the right block, he was 6-for-8 from the field, drew six fouls and committed just one turnover.

Somewhat lost in the hoopla surrounding Nowitzki’s performance and the Mavericks’ Game 1 win was a pretty good effort by Kevin Durant. He was 10-for-18 from the field and 18-for-19 from the free throw line, scoring 40 points.

Kevin Durant

DurantLook for Oklahoma City to get their superstar moving Thursday. Durant scored 1.15 points per play when he was static -- which includes isolation plays, post-ups and spot-ups -- but was even better when on the move. In transition, coming off screens and on the pick-and-roll, he scored 1.41 points per play, making seven of his 11 field goal attempts while moving.

The other Thunder star, Russell Westbrook, really struggled in Game 1. He was 3-for-7 from the field from six feet and in; from beyond six feet, Westbrook missed all eight shots.

It’ll be interesting to see how often Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins are on the court together in Game 2. Oklahoma City was outscored by 19 points when that combination was on the court in Game 1.

The game-changers in Game 1 for the Mavericks were Nowitzki and Jason Terry. When that combination was on the court in Game 1, Dallas was +18, the best plus/minus for any two-man combination in the game.