|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAIt took almost the entire game to find his rhythm and start hitting shots, but Dirk Nowitzki found his range with just enough time to hold off a run by the Thunder.
The Mavericks stole Game Three in Oklahoma City 93-87 after leading by as many as 23 points earlier in the game, and held off a fourth quarter push by the Thunder. Offensively, OKC struggled almost the entire game, shooting poorly from almost everywhere except the free throw line.
And the Oklahoma City Thunder's 27-of-74 shooting does not even tell the whole story of their abysmal offensive night. In the third and fourth quarter, the team started hitting shots with more regularity. If they had never settled into a rhythm, they may have shot closer to 30% instead of 36.5%. And their three-point attempts were way off most of the night as they went 1-of-17 from beyond the arc. The shots just were not falling.
Contrast that with the Dallas Mavericks' much better shooting night as they went 44% from the field and took a 16 point lead into halftime. Dirk Nowitzki was little help in the first half, making only four of his first ten shots. But his presence on the offensive end required double teams and help defense by the Thunder, leaving other Mavericks wide open. Nowitzki finished the game with 18 points, and went 7-of-21 from the field.
Kevin Durant of the Thunder also had another off night in the playoffs. He shot 7-of-22 and finished the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Russell Westbrook put in another 30 points and helped OKC claw their way back into the game in the final minutes. But the lead was just too much for the Thunder to overcome, and their inability to hit a three-pointer really kept the game out of reach. In fact, the team missed their first 16 three point shots.
It is doubtful that Oklahoma City will play that poorly on offense again in this series. Teams have bad shooting nights sometimes – it's a normal part of the playoffs. Just look at the Bulls in Game Two against the Heat. And despite the Thunder's awful shooting, the Mavericks only beat them by 6 points, and could easily have lost this game down the stretch. If OKC comes out with a little more accuracy in Game Four, this series may get much more interesting again.