But when the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t take advantage, they opened the door for what followed.
The Thunder-Mavericks series is even at 1-1 after the Mavericks’ stunning upset in Game 2. They held Kevin Durant to one of the worst shooting games in playoff history and got a tremendous game from an unexpected source to win.
Worst game Durant could have
When Durant missed a driving layup with the Thunder down by one point in the final seconds, it was his 26th missed shot of the game. That matched Michael Jordan for the most missed shots in a playoff game in the past 30 seasons. Jordan went 9-of-35 in a loss to the Heat in 1997.
Durant went 4-of-26 against defenders shorter than he is (including 1-of-20 on post-ups and jumpers), and missed 18 of his first 19 shots taken from outside the paint.
Wesley Matthews, listed at 6-foot-5, handled the 6-foot-9 Durant the most, limiting him to 3-of-13 from the field.
Westbrook struggled at the wrong time too
Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 1-of-12 in the final six minutes of the game, during which the Mavericks outscored the Thunder 14-6.
Westbrook started and ended five of the Thunder’s 17 possessions over that time. On those plays, Westbrook was held to 0-of-4 shooting and committed a turnover.
Difference-maker: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton led the Mavericks with 21 points and 11 assists. He had six points in the final six minutes. He scored all six of those when guarded by Westbrook.
Westbrook did not allow Felton to score during the first 42 minutes of this game.
Waved off ... again
The struggles of Westbrook and Durant would have been forgiven had Steven Adams' putback at the buzzer counted.
Serge Ibaka knows how Adams feels. Two years ago, in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies, Ibaka scored on a putback off a Durant miss, but the shot was ruled to have come just after the buzzer when the play was reviewed.
Stat of the night
The Mavericks are the fourth team in NBA history to win Game 2 of a series after losing Game 1 by 35 points or more. The last team to do it was the 1995 Celtics, who lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Magic by 47 but won Game 2. The Magic won the next two games and went on to the NBA Finals.