Throughout the 2011 NBA playoffs the Dallas Mavericks seemed to always be able to stop opposing teams and build their own leads late in games. However, game 2 of the Western Conference Finals was the exception to the rule. After allowing Dirk Nowitzki to drop 48 points on them in Game 1, Oklahoma City looked like the veteran team in game 2 by holding off the Mavericks late game push to steal one on the road.
Oklahoma City took a 77-76 lead into the fourth quarter and never trailed. They allowed Dallas to come within 1 point multiple times throughout the quarter but ultimately held off the Mavs late game runs. With 3:15 left in the fourth the Thunder built their biggest lead of the game on a James Harden 22 foot jumper. The bucket pushed the score to 102-92 and caused Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle to take a full timeout.
Dallas wasn’t going down at home without swinging. Over the next two minutes the Mavs put together defensive stops and buckets to go on a 6-0 run, pulling the sore to 102-98. A foul by Nowitzki on Nick Collison effectively put the nail on the coffin for the Mavs. Collison stepped up to the line with 45 second left on the clock and sank both free throws. The next possession Nowitzki was fouled and went to the line with the possibility of making it a one possession game. Instead, he uncharacteristically missed the second free throw of three, leaving the Mavs behind 104-100 with 36 seconds to go. That’s all the Thunder would need to steal the game and take home court advantage back to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder’s big 3 of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden combined to score 64 of the Thunders 106 points. Nowitzki finished the game as the Mavs leading scorer with 29 points on 10 for 17 shooting. Tyson Chandler was surprisingly the Mavs second best scoring option in the game as he finished with a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double. Jason Terry had a rough game, only scoring 8 points in 29 minutes to go along with 3 turnovers and 1 assist.
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