Talk about taking care of business.
Yet again, the Thunder have beaten a team that is supposed to be better then them, especially in this stage of the season. And they did it easily! I'm starting to think that all of the "experience" talk that everybody else has been feeding us is just a bunch of horseradish.
The game started out a bit pessimistically, with Kevin Durant not able to get it going and the Mavericks keeping a small lead. But, Rodrigue Beaubois missed a critical 3 point jumper near the end of the first, and Eric Maynor made a big 3, putting the Thunder within 2. Then, the floodgates opened as the Thunder took a 6 point lead and never really looked back. The Mavericks would get as close as 4, which was scary when it happened near the end, but all in all made for a very relaxing game. Oh, and did I mention Eric Maynor hit the clutch 3 that put us up by 7 late in the game? It seems that we don't need Durant for clutch shots, as seemingly anyone can step up and make them.
When you get down to it, we really abused the Mavericks on the inside. You'd think that with Brendan Haywood and Erick Dampier that the Mavericks would be able to stop inside drives, but that's not very true, as both of them are old and immobile, while Dirk is a softie. It lead to lots of easy buckets, and lots of easy trips to the freethrow line.
But when you get right down to it, the Mavericks were really hurt by the poor offensive performances of Caron Butler and Jason Terry. In a game where both teams are scoring around 35 points a quarter, you can't have guys going 3 of 11 or 2 of 10. And Dirk had 5 lousy turnovers. Shawn Marion was pretty subpar. The list goes on. While everybody on the Thunder found ways to contribute, the Mavericks were hit and miss. And hit and miss doesn't work against a hot team like the Thunder.
On to the awards....
Thunder Wonder: Eric Maynor, 14 Points, 5-8 Shooting, 2-3 3 Pointers, 2 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 1 Steal. Belt requested it, and there's no way I can't give it. In a night where Russell Westbrook was a bit sub-par, Eric Maynor stepped it up on the offensive end. I was getting a bit sick of seeing him brick his shots all of the time in other games, but he deserved those shots tonight.
Thunder Down Under: Nick Collison, 17 Points, 6-7 Shooting, 1 Rebound, 1 Turnover, 1 Steal. Okay, so all he did was score, but it's the most noticeable performance he's had in months, and that counts for something. Not to mention the variety of ways in which he was able to outwit the Maverick defense down low.
Thunder Blunder: Serge Ibaka, 0 Points, 0-3 Shooting, 5 Rebounds, 5 Fouls. In a game where Collison and Krstic did so well, you'd think Serge would get his fair share of points. It wasn't a huge loss, since they more than made up for his offensive ineptness, but I'd still like to have seen at least a couple of dunks.
Thunder Plunderer: Jason Kidd, 24 Points, 10-15 Shooting, 3-6 3 Pointers, 4 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 3 Steals, 1 Block. Okay, so a lot of people thought it was Dirk Nowitzki. But Jason Kidd really helped the Mavericks through tough times in the 3rd and 4th. It always seemed that whenever the Mavericks were about to be down for the count, he'd hit a critical 3 or run in for an easy layup. Dirk had 30 Points and 13 Rebounds, but he also had 5 turnovers and played horrible defense. I'll take Jason Kidd's performance over his any day.
Next Game: Versus the Timberwolves, Sunday, April 4th, 6 PM Central Standard Time.