Mejri Blocks, Anderson Jams
Salah Mejri goes up for the nice block, and Justin Anderson finishes with a jam.
Final: Thunder 119, Mavs 108
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
One game after moving past Wilt Chamberlain for 16th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list, Dirk Nowitzki jumped past Elgin Baylor for 15th place. He now has 3,639 career postseason points.
Dirk Nowitzki put on a classic showing tonight, scoring an efficient 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting. The German was effective in the mid-range but also put the ball on the floor several times for drives to the basket, seeking contact in the process. In order to win this round, the Mavs will obviously need Nowitzki to continue playing at this type of level for the remainder of the series. Regardless, it was fun to see him perform at this level once again in the playoffs. His standard of individual postseason excellence has continued, even in Year 18.
Salah Mejri made two massive blocks in the second quarter within the span of the same minute, both of the chase-down variety. He played a big role in bringing some life into the game. Similarly, Justin Anderson had another solid performance, throwing down a couple dunks in the open floor and grabbing some big rebounds at a time when Dallas was struggling on the glass. The two rookies have come a long way this season, and even in this series, playing with more and more composure while also maintaining the youthful exuberance you’d want from inexperienced guys. Unfortunately Mejri left the game in the fourth quarter, limping toward the locker room after suffering a right hip injury. His status for Game 5 is unclear.
Sometimes it takes a bit of a scrum to inject some life into the players and the crowd. The Thunder took a double-digit lead in the second quarter, but then a random and out-of-nowhere decision by Anthony Morrow ignited the Mavericks. After a loose ball caromed into the OKC bench, Morrow grabbed the ball and would not let go even as Mejri attempted to take it back. Then the OKC wing threw the ball to the referee and shoved Mejri, who of course took exception. After some jawing with Russell Westbrook, the two teams briefly converged. Somehow, after all the mayhem ended and the officials reviewed the video, Mejri and Westbrook were assessed with double-technicals while Morrow came away unpunished despite provoking the whole situation. (The Thunder bench was assessed with a delay of game warning.) At any rate, the Mavs — and Mejri in particular — responded with a spirited display and reduced the deficit to nine points at halftime. There’s been no shortage of physicality and trash talk at this series, and Mejri has been in the middle of a lot of it. That dude plays with so much energy and swagger. He’s so much fun to watch. In an unrelated event, Kevin Durant received a flagrant 2 foul and an ejection after hitting Anderson across the face with just a couple minutes remaining in regulation, with the result already basically decided. It’s been a strange series to be sure.
Deron Williams got the starting nod tonight despite suffering from a sports hernia. He had the same injury in Game 2 but played valiantly early on. Unfortunately tonight, he just couldn’t manage to battle through it. After crashing into the sideline on the first possession of the game, he was visibly in pain and was removed from the game for good with 10:31 left in the opening quarter. His status for Game 5 is unclear.
Game 5 is Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Central.