The Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back from a bad loss in game 2 and trounced the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena 131-102 Thursday night to take a 2 to 1 lead in the series. Kevin Durant, who played arguably the worst game of his career in game 2, bounced back to lead the onslaught with 34 points on a much more KD like 44% shooting night.
Meanwhile, as KD was regaining his form, the remaining Thunder shot a crisp 64% from the field, including a stellar 65% from an oft maligned Thunder bench. Enes Kanter led the reserve's charge with 21 pts on 6 of 7 shooting, closely followed by Dion Waiter's 19 on 7-11 shooting.
Russell Westbrook focusing on getting his teammates going early with 5 assists in the first quarter, finished the game with 15 dimes, just one short of his playoff career high. After a slow shooting start, Westbrook heated up in the second half as KD began to cool and racked up 26 points on an efficient 56% shooting performance including draining 2 of his 3 attempts from beyond the arc.
Ironically, Thursday night was also an off-night by Westbrook standards when he posted a zero in the rebound column for the first time since April 17, 2013. Considering the bar RW has set for himself, in an otherwise dismal performance by the Mavs, perhaps they can take some solace in the fact that they are only the 5th team to ever hold Westbrook to a goose egg in the rebound column in his 8 year career.
There were moments in the game in which the Thunder offense stagnated and the defense had some glaring letdowns. The Mavs began to get testy and tried to turn the game into a slugfest in the third quarter when Raymond Felton took exception to Steven Adams block out:
I hate to point this out to Mr. Felton, but when you go running into the forest, sometimes you are going to catch an inadvertent branch in the mouth. While focusing on the ball and battling for rebounding position, there was little chance that Adams knew that he was up against the 6' Felton and not the 7' Dirk Nowitzki at that point. OK, OK, maybe he did, however, Adam's actions were hardly the vicious elbow Felton claimed and there was no doubt about Felton's intentions when he threw a forearm shiver at Adams after the play was whistled dead.
Apparently incidental and intentional mean the same thing in Big D and Adams and Shelton were both assessed a technical for the incident...
...sorry Mr. Webster, but to be perfectly honest, it was a bit comical watching Felton attack the much taller New Zealander's chest:
Overall, considering the debacle we witnessed in game 2, the Thunder's performance was solid. I was so inspired that I stayed up all night and made another silly "Legion of Thunder" video to celebrate their victory:
In addition to the video, one of WTLC's regular readers and occasional contributor has been asking for an opportunity to vote for his favorite player, Andre Roberson, in one of our game polls and I think I have found a category that is right up Robes alley:
Nobody out-hustles Andre Roberson, so to honor his hard work and team first dedication I give you WTLC's first "Thunder Hustler" award poll: (hint - the odds are stacked in Andre's favor by design)