The Oklahoma City Thunder couldn't have won Game 1 over the Dallas Mavericks faster on Saturday night. Up by 26 at halftime and by 42 after three, the Thunder came, saw, and conquered behind an elite defensive showing and explosive team offense. By the final whistle it was a 108-70 Thunder victory.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant led the balanced scoring downpour for Oklahoma City; Westbrook had 24 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds while Durant recorded 23, five assists, and five rebounds himself.
Oklahoma City demolished Dallas under the glass and in the paint, winning the rebounding battle by a 56-33 margin, thanks to the major contributions of Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, and Steven Adams. Ibaka had 17 points, nine boards, and three blocks, Kanter came off the bench for a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Adams grabbed seven missed shots under the boards as well.
Dallas shot a woeful 29.8 percent from the field and missed 10 of their 26 attempts from the foul line in the loss, paving the way for the Thunder to utterly dominate the scoreboard right from the get-go. The Mavericks nearly made NBA and franchise history with their low marks by each quarter's end.
Old man Dirk Nowitzki did all he could at the head of the Dallas scoring game, but he was the only one that seemed to hit shots at a normal rate for Rick Carlisle's crew. Dirk finished the game with 18 points on 7-15 shooting, going 4-4 from the line. The team's next-highest scorer was Dwight Powell at eight points and six rebounds, and a large part of Powell's 20 minutes came in the plentiful garbage time of the fourth quarter.
Summarizing OKC's dominance quarter-by-quarter
The lack of efficiency put the Mavericks in a hole early in the first quarter, as Dallas shot 1-10 from the field to begin the game offensively and the Thunder, meanwhile, gunned to a 15-2 lead just four minutes in. Dallas couldn't easily get back in the game either, finishing the first quarter with just 11 points. Oklahoma City only slightly cooled off to be up 15 with 26 on the board after 12 minutes.
Enes Kanter had a hot second quarter for the Thunder, but Dirk initially helped the Mavericks keep the deficit under 20 with a few buckets early on in the second. A Durant three with seven minutes to go before half made it 38-17 to Oklahoma City, and strong all-around play by the Thunder's well-orchestrated lineup helped bulk up the lead to 29 with 44 seconds left in the first half. Raymond Felton scored four points in the final 40 seconds of the half to leave OKC's winning margin at 59-33 through two quarters.
The blowout carried over to the third quarter out of the break. While the Mavs kept the deficit from rapidly expanding further for the majority of the third, a 79-44 Oklahoma City lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter turned into a 93-51 lead by the end of the period. That left the fourth quarter for garbage time.
OKC's subs played the majority of the fourth and as a result production slowed down. The Thunder scored only 15 in the final quarter but Dallas finished the period with just 19, and the final result sat at 108-70 after 12 minutes of some of the most boring basketball to be witnessed in the NBA.
Next in the series
The one-up Thunder host the Mavericks again for Game 2 on Monday for an 8:00 PM EST tip. The series will then shift to American Airlines Arena in Dallas for Games 3 and 4. If necessary, Games 5-7 will switch off from OKC to Dallas and then back to OKC for a doubtful series-deciding game.