The Mavs lost their first game in the playoffs since Game 4 in the opening round to the Portland Trailblazers, 106-100. The Mavs started off a bit slow but quickly took off and opened up a huge lead early in the second quarter. But then came the “Dunk heard round the world” as Kevin Durant took off and slammed it home over Brendan Haywood. It was a play that changed the momentum of the game, and could have changed the momentum of the series.
Kevin Durant had a solid game for the Thunder, scoring 24 points, grabbing 3 rebounds, and adding 4 assists. While his dunk shifted the momentum over to the Thunder, Durant was not the offensive force that he was in Game 1. It was the bench that took the game over for the Thunder, as they scored 50 points. Granted they played a lot of minutes in this game, particularly in the fourth quarter. James Harden was a beast! He scored 23 points, hitting 4 shots from behind the arc, while grabbing 7 boards. He hit many shots in big moments, answering to the scores of the Mavs.
It is not often that the Mavs bench gets outgunned. J.J. Barea had the most points off the bench with 11. Jason Terry and Peja Stoyakovic each had 8 points. The entire team seemed to lack the intensity that they have displayed so far this post-season. Dirk was Dirk, scoring 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Nowitzki hit some big buckets in the fourth quarter, but the team just could not come up with any stops on defense.
Surprisingly, this was the first game in the playoffs that the Mavs have surrendered over 100 points. Players after the game commented that they were outplayed by the Thunder and that they had not taken the Thunder seriously. Really? Why? On what basis do you not take any team in the playoffs seriously? The Thunder scratched and fought throughout Game 1, nearly pulling off an impressive comeback.
Why wouldn’t you take this team seriously? The Mavs need to crank up the intensity and defense again. They need to build off the production of Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd in Game 2, and get the bench firing on all cylinders once again. Dirk needs to get the ball early to get into a rhythm and take the crowd out of the game early.
How the Mavs respond tonight will be telling. If they win this game, I believe they win the series. If they lose, it could be tough. I bet they win and comfortably in Game 3. Lets Go Mavs!