The Dallas Mavericks had a virtuoso performance from Dirk in the first game of the series. Some expected the Mavs to keep rolling this game. Well, somebody forgot to tell the Thunder that the Mavs were supposed to win this game too. The Thunder went into Dallas and won 106-100 in front of a frenzied crowd. Two key points stood out this game.
Dirk was guarded almost exclusively by Serge Ibaka last game and he torched the Thunder. This game, the Thunder gave Dirk different looks. They fronted him, brought late double-teams when Dirk put the ball on the floor and they also played him straight up at times. Dirk still hit 10-17 and scored 29 points, but the Thunder made him work harder tonight. He also had more turnovers this game as well.
The Mavs bench was supposed to be the dominant bench in this game. Well, James Harden and the Thunder bench decided that they would show up this game. Harden, PG Eric Maynor, SG Dequan Cook and PF Nick Collison were great for the Thunder and provided a great lift while shutting the PG JJ Barea, PG/SG Jason Terry and crew tonight. The Mavs were a +31 from their bench the first game. This game, they were a -21. The Thunder are going to need this kind of effort every game to win this series.
Just like adjustments were made leading into this game, there will be more changes coming. The Thunder played like a desperate team and the Mavs couldn't match their energy. If I'm the Thunder, I'm confident heading back home to a raucous crowd and having taken over the home-court advantage. For the Mavs, Dirk's look after the game ended had the story of the game. He was feeling frustration because he knows he gave up a golden chance to put a stranglehold on the series. Should be interesting what happens in Game 3.