Powell Finishes Alley-Oop
J.J. Barea finds Dwight Powell for the alley-oop dunk.
Final: Thunder 118, Mavs 104
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Dirk Nowitzki came into tonight averaging 19.5 points per game in the playoffs. He nearly matched his average in the first half, scoring 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He ended with 24. There’s only one Nowitzki, and he made some spectacular plays in this series.
The Mavs scored 1.542 points per possession in a sizzling second quarter in which they scored 37 points but on only 50.0 percent shooting. They did it by not turning the ball over and grabbing six offensive rebounds, which led to all sorts of easy put-back points, mostly by Dwight Powell.
Zaza Pachulia had a monster game, stuffing the stat sheet for maybe the most impressive passing performance by a center in franchise history. The Georgian recorded nine dimes, the second-most by a center in Mavericks history, topped only by Kurt Nimphius’ 10 during the 1983-84 season. (He did it twice that year.) Pachulia was very effective dishing out passes from the elbow as usual, but he also made plays on the move in pick-and-roll situations. With so many playmakers hurt for this team, someone needed to step up and help to move the ball, and Pachulia did a very good job.
Dwight Powell might not have received major playing time earlier in the postseason, and he wasn’t even playing steady minutes late in the regular season, but he had a huge game tonight, especially in the first half. Powell was effective on both ends of the floor, using his size and athleticism to battle OKC’s big men on the glass while also contributing in the pick-and-roll and on put-backs offensively. The second-year big man made the most of his minutes in this game, as he was promoted to the third big with both Salah Mejri and David Lee out due to injury. The young big man could have a strong career should he continue improving as either a 4 or a 5 — or, ideally, both. Tonight showed the potential is certainly there.
With no Deron Williams tonight, Justin Anderson earned the first starting nod of his postseason career. The Mavs ran an alley-oop play for him on their third possession of the game — what many might remember as the “Roddy play,” named after former Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois. Anderson also drew the first assignment on Russell Westbrook, which is a pretty tough task for a rookie. Westbrook got off to a hot start in the first frame, scoring 13 points, although that had less to do Anderson making mistakes than it does Westbrook being a terrific player. He hit a few mid-range and 3-point jumpers in the opening minutes, and if those shots are falling he is nearly unguardable should you make any adjustments and press up more on him, as he has the quickness and force to drive the lane and finish either through you or over you.