Oklahoma City Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points during an off night for both of the game’s superstars, and the Dallas Mavericks built a huge lead early before hanging on for a 93-87 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Mavericks, who tied with Miami for the league’s best road record during the regular season, won for the fourth straight time outside Dallas in these playoffs and reclaimed home-court advantage just two nights after letting it get away in Game 2.
Nowitzki went 7-for-21 from the field, but Dallas still called on him in the clutch to hold off Oklahoma City’s late charge.
“He’s the best, even if he’s not making shots early he wants the ball to make a play,” Dallas guard Jason Kidd said.
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant also struggled from the field, hitting just seven of 22 shots to finish with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Russell Westbrook responded to a fourth-quarter benching with 30 points, helping the Thunder rally from 23 points down to make it interesting in the final minutes.
Dallas had already blown a 23-point lead in the final 13 minutes in the first round at Portland and led by 22 with 17 minutes to go this time.
Shawn Marion also scored 18, and Kidd and Jason Terry each chipped in 13. Tyson Chandler had 15 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.