NBA Playoffs 2011: Dallas Mavericks vs. OKC Thunder Game 3 Report Card
No one expected the Mavericks and Thunder to meet in the Western Conference finals, but the series has been a great one.
In Game 1, Dirk had a record-breaking performance. He led his team to victory by making 24-of-24 free throws and scored 48 points in a Maverick win.
The Thunder bench made the difference in Game 2. Oklahoma City won a tough one on the road and stole home court advantage from Dallas.
With the series tied 1-1 heading into Game 3, many expected another good game.
Dallas started the game on fire and took an early 20-point lead. Although the Thunder made it interesting at the end, the Mavericks thoroughly outplayed their opponent and won by a final score of 93-87.
Here is the report card for Game 3.
12. Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder
One of the major story lines of Game 2 was the benching of Russell Westbrook for the entire fourth quarter.
Heading into Game 3, I was eager to see how he would respond.
Westbrook was very aggressive to start the game and was one of the few bright spots for the Thunder. He scored 30 points and single-handedly kept the Thunder in the game.
Despite his stellar performance on offense, he displayed his youth and immaturity. Westbrook’s shot selection was very questionable down the stretch, and he recorded seven turnovers.
Game 3 Grade: B+
11. Jason Kidd, PG, Mavericks
Jason Kidd had a very well-balanced performance and filled up the stat sheet. He finished with 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals.
At the beginning of the second half, he hit two big shots to give his team a 20-point lead and the Mavs never looked back.
Kidd continues to prove that he can get it done despite being 38 years old.
Game 3 Grade: A-
10. James Harden, SG, Thunder
James Harden had an amazing Game 2, scoring 23 points in the Thunder win.
His Game 3 performance was largely forgettable. Harden shot 2-of-9 from the field and scored only seven points.
For the Thunder to beat the Mavericks, Harden will have to play better than that.
Game 3 Grade: C
9. Jason Terry, SG, Mavericks
Jason Terry was brilliant in Games 1 and 2 but regressed in Game 3.
While he did dish out six assists, he shot only 3-of-12 from the field and scored 13 points.
One of Terry’s few bright spots came when he hit a clutch shot to give the Mavs an eight-point lead with 1:42 left in the game.
Game 3 Grade: B-
8. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
Kevin Durant had an abysmal start to the game, making only two of his first 10 shots.
His early absence was a big reason the Thunder were down by 16 at the half.
Durant may have finished the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but he had a very poor shooting night. He made only 7-of-22 shots and missed all eight of his attempted three-pointers.
Durant is the best player on his team and should have delivered a stronger performance at home.
Game 3 Grade: C-
7. Shawn Marion, SF, Mavericks
Although Shawn Marion scored a team-high 18 points, it was his defense that made the difference in the Maverick win.
Marion harassed Durant all night long and forced him to take low percentage shots.
Marion was the MVP of Game 3 and one of the key reasons his team won the game.
Game 3 Grade: A
6. Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder
Where was Serge Ibaka in Game 3?
I watched the entire game and can’t remember a play that he had a positive impact on.
He played only 24 minutes and had a plus/minus of minus-18—the worst of any player in the game. The Thunder can’t afford another night like that from Ibaka.
Game 3 Grade: D+
5. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks
We probably just witnessed Dirk Nowtizki’s worst performance of the 2011 playoffs.
Dirk had an off night in Game 3 and shot 33 percent from the field. He was harassed constantly by Nick Collison and turned the ball over seven times.
Although his stats look bad, he still had positive impact and often passed out of double teams and helping his teammates score easy buckets.
Nowitzki may have struggled shooting most of the night, but he hit a few big shots down the stretch. His performance was far from memorable, but unlike Kevin Durant, he was there when his team needed him.
Game 3 Grade: C
4. Kendrick Perkins, C, Thunder
Kendrick Perkins had four points, five rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes of work.
Like Ibaka, Perkins did not have an impact on the game and was outplayed by both Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood.
The Thunder big men are too important to their team to play this poorly.
Game 3 Grade: C-
3. Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks
Tyson Chandler had a very impressive Game 3. He was very active and dominated the boards the entire night.
Chandler finished with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds—six of them coming on the offensive end.
He played great defense throughout the game and once again proved that he is the best big man in the series.
Game 3 Grade: A
2. Role Players, Thunder
In Game 2, the Thunder role players were the reason that Oklahoma City pulled off an exciting road victory.
In Game 3, Nick Collison played great defense on Nowitzki and gave the Thunder 24 quality minutes. He rebounded the ball well and made all four of his field goal attempts.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, Collison was the only role player who stepped up.
Game 3 Grade: C+
1. Role Players, Mavericks
Entering the series, most felt that the Mavericks had the stronger bench.
After getting outplayed in Game 2, the Mavericks’ role players stepped up and delivered a balanced effort.
While none of them had breakout performances, Peja Stojakovic, Brendan Haywood and JJ Barea all contributed quality minutes.
Game 3 Grade: B
Conclusion: History Shows the Thunder Are in Trouble
When a best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 and the home team loses Game 3, that team has gone on to win the series only 16 percent of the time.
Can the Thunder bounce back from a tough loss at home? Or will the Mavericks continue to roll?
Stay tuned—Game 4 is on Monday night.