This year marks the ninth anniversary of the Dallas Mavericks’ remarkable run to capture the franchise’s only NBA championship. Our television partners at Fox Sports Southwest are re-airing the 16 victories that the Mavericks earned en route to the 2011 title. Having dispatched Portland in the first round and having swept the Los Angeles Lakers in round two, the Mavericks moved on to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. The fiwill air on FSSW on Monday at 7 p.m.

We at will provide our own look-back at those games, giving readers a primer for the re-broadcasts with comments of players both from those games and recent conversations.


Home cooking had been very tasty to the Mavericks in the first two playoff series.

But even the best chefs crank out the occasional clunker that must be sent back to the kitchen.

The Mavericks suffered their first home hiccup of the playoffs when the Oklahoma City Thunder stole Game 2 at American Airlines Center in the Western Conference finals.

It proved to be a momentary cause for distress. But there may have been a bright side because it appeared to get the Mavericks’ attention and refocus them.

Oklahoma City had defied the odds by getting to the West finals. They had gotten into the playoff picture as the No. 4 seed and caught a tremendous break when Memphis upset the No. 1-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

The Thunder got past the Denver Nuggets in five games in the first round. They then figured out how to do what the Spurs could not and dispatched the Grizzlies, but it took them the full seven games to do so.

It set up a West showdown between the uber-talented Thunder and the Mavericks who clearly had a ton of mojo working for them after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers.

Game 1: Mavericks 121, Thunder 112

Since they had finished off Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the Lakers in such short order, the Mavericks had the luxury of eight days off between Game 4 against LA and the opener of the best-of-seven against the Thunder.

It was a classic case of wondering whether the rest would be good for the Mavericks or the rust would show after more than a week without a competitive game.

When it came to their offense, they had no problem shaking off any cobwebs.

The Mavericks rolled to a nine-point victory and a 1-0 series lead

While Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook were hard to stop, Dirk Nowitzki was even tougher to slow down.

Nowitzki threw in 48 points, his playoff career high. Half of those points came from the free-throw line, where he was a perfect 24-for-24. The Thunder would have had fits about the number of times Nowitzki went to the stripe, except for the fact that OKC shot more free throws (43-36) in a game that had 55 fouls and took 2 hours, 47 minutes to play.

After falling behind after a quarter, the Mavericks found their sizzle on offense, plowed ahead by halftime and rolled up 70 points in the second and third quarters, going up 90-79.

Also unaffected by the long layoff: the Mavericks’ bench.

Just as they had done in the Lakers’ series, the backups were dominant, outscoring OKC’s reserves 53-22.

It had been just 48 hours earlier that the Thunder closed out the Grizzlies. Clearly, they were not at their best physically. They were a step slow defensively all night.

“I thought Dirk was pretty good tonight,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said with a chuckle. “I thought we defended him as close as we can – obviously, too close.”

Kevin Durant, who tried to match Nowitzki and finished with 40 points, thought the exhausting series against Memphis was a factor in Game 1 against the Mavs.

“After playing a physical series, I think we were a little too physical with him,” Durant said of Nowitzki. “We have to make adjustments.”

And so, they did.

Game 3: Mavericks 93, Thunder 87

For the first time in these playoffs, the Mavericks were coming off a home loss. They had won six consecutive home games to start the playoffs.

Then, they stumbled in Game 2 against the Thunder. The series was tied at a win apiece and the reason for concern was legitimate for the Mavericks.

Making matters worse, they were going on the road, although Oklahoma City’s gym had not been a mystery to the Mavericks during the 2019-11 seasons. They won both visits there during the regular season.

That trend continued in the pivotal third game of the series.

The Mavericks knew they would have to win at least once in Oklahoma. So they were prepared to get down and dirty.

Game 3 turned out to be every bit the mud fight that they were expecting.

It would be the only game of the series that the Mavericks would not reach 100 points. They clawed out a 93-87 win and regained a foothold with a 2-1 series lead.

It was not a thing of beauty.

Nowitzki had been a scoring machine in the first two games with 77 points. He would miss 14 of 21 shots in Game 3.

Didn’t matter. Shawn Marion had 18 points and, after getting outscored 50-29 in Game 2, the Mavericks’ bench returned to form and had a significant advantage.

While Durant and Westbrook combined for 54 points, the rest of the Thunder could combine for only 33 and the Mavericks took charge by going ahead by 23 points early in the second quarter and they hung tough the rest of the way.

“In a game like this in someone else’s arena, coming off a loss, you have to come out with an anger and an intensity,” said Jason Terry. “We did that.”

By doing so, the Mavericks re-established themselves, providing a stamp of grittiness to their reputation. It was their fourth consecutive road victory in the playoff run, dating back to Game 5 in Portland.

This had become a team without any fear of anybody – home or road.

Twitter: @ESefko

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