While the first two games could have gone either direction, last night's third game in the opening round series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder held no such questions. The game was completely dominated by Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder and the defending champs could only shake their heads after the 95-79 loss. For team star Dirk Nowitzki, it was exactly the opposite of what he says they wanted to do coming out.
"Our goal was to come out swinging, create energy and get the building going," he said after the game. "It wasn't the way we wanted to start the game. Give them credit. They threw a heck of a game at us. ... We picked a bad time to put a stinker out there."
Scott Brooks, head coach of the Thunder, realized the defensive intensity was going to be key for OKC's success. He was proud of their effort after the game.
"Defensively we did probably as well as we could possibly do against a very good offensive team that really moves the basketball very well."
The Mavs are now on the ropes down 3-0 in the series and must bounce back to win every game from here on out to take the series. For the Thunder, it's about closing things efficiently and making sure to not give your opponent too much hope.
For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder, be sure to check out Welcome to Loud City and join the discussion. For more on the Dallas Mavericks, check out Mavs Moneyball. For more on the 2012 NBA Playoffs, check out the SB Nation NBA hubpage.