Dirk Nowitzki put on a historic shooting performance on Tuesday night, as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-112, at American Airlines Center, to take Game One.
Before this Game One, there was talk that the Mavericks might be rusty. Well, if they were rusty tonight, it would be scary to see how they look when they're not.
Nowitzki gave the Thunder fits all night. He shot an outstanding 12-of-15 from the field and tied a playoff record for most consecutive free throws in a quarter by shooting 13-for-13 in the third quarter, and shot an overall 24-for-24 from the line, also a record. Nowitzki finished with 48 points.
In what many considered to be a one-on-one competition between Nowitzki and Kevin Durant going into the game, the two lived up to the billing in the first quarter, as the two All-Star forwards each went on a solid scoring run. Durant played extremely well throughout the game, but just wasn't as effective as Nowitzki.
Durant finished with 40 points, on 10-of-18 shooting, and shot an outstanding 18-of-19 from the free-throw line.
But it was Nowitzki, who put on a shooting exhibition for the ages. The 7'0 German star made the game look so effortless.
Oklahoma City needed Russell Westbrook to use his athleticism to tire out the Mavericks, but it seemed like it was Westbrook who was tired. He shot just three-of-15 from the field, and only had three assists.
The Mavs got another excellent effort from J.J. Barea. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks even put in seldom-used small point guard Nate Robinson to defend Barea, but it turned out to be a mistake, as Barea was eight-for-10 from the field at one point. A reserve guard, Barea finished with 21 points, and had 12 points in about three and a half minutes.
Jason Terry gave another solid contribution for Rick Carlisle's squad, scoring 24 points.
Game Two is on Thursday in Dallas.