Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are just two wins away from sending the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks back to the proverbial drawing board.
On Monday, during Game 2 of the Thunder/Mavs’ 2012 NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series, Westbrook led his team with 29 points as Kevin Durant scored 26 points and 10 rebounds and James Harden finished the night with 15.
While the game was close for most of the night — with Dallas even going ahead in the final minute — the Mavericks were trumped yet again when Durant hit two free throws with 50.4 seconds left to give Oklahoma City a 98-97 lead, and reserve James Harden hit all four of his foul shots after that to cap a 102-99 victory for the Thunder.
“That’s what the playoffs are about,” Westbrook said in a post-game interview. “Toughness.”
Westbrook was spot on with his assessment, as Dallas’ loss was also partly due to the team’s inability to hit big baskets in the clutch.
Jason Terry missed two 3-point attempts from the left wing in the final 5 seconds that could have tied it and set up overtime.
ESPN points out Game 1 of the series also went down to the wire, with hitting a jumpshot from the foul line with 1.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a 99-98 victory.
Check out Durant’s game winner in the video below:
“We’re just a couple bounces away from being up 2-0,” said Mavericks All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who led his squad with 31 points but missed both his shots in the final 75 seconds.
“It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but we’re going to keep coming. We’re not going to lay down. If they beat us, we’re going to make them earn it.”
Just two games into 2012 NBA Playoffs, Russel Westbrook is averaging 28.5 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in just over 38 minutes of playing time per contest.
Game 3 of the OKC – Dallas series is scheduled to go down on Thursday, May 3 @ 8:30PM EST.
Check out highlights from game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks series in the 2012 NBA Playoffs below: