The goal for a visiting team at the start of an NBA Playoff series is to try to possibly steal a victory in the first two games which are played in their opponents arena. The Oklahoma City Thunder accomplished that goal on Thursday night as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in game two of the Western Conference Finals 106-100. The Thunder had an incredibly strong night on the offensive end of the floor shooting 55.7% (39-70) for the night. Kevin Durant led the way for Oklahoma City with 24 points while James Harden came off the bench and added 23 points in the win. Dirk Nowitzki scored a game high 29 points while Tyson Chandler recorded a double-double for the Mavericks.
Both clubs scored early and often during the opening period. Jose Juan Barea hit an outside jumper with 32 seconds remaining in the quarter and Dallas would have the advantage at 31-26 at the end of the period. The two teams kept exchanging the lead to back and forth throughout the second. Russell Westbrook drained a 24 foot trey down the stretch and as the two teams left the court when the game reached the half the Thunder would be on top 59-57.
The contest would remain tight through the third but Harden would bury a 25 foot trey with seven seconds left and got fouled while making the shot. He made his shot at the charity stripe and Oklahoma City held a razor-thin 77-76 lead as the quarter concluded. Although the Thunder held the lead through the fourth the Mavericks remained in striking distance until Daequan Cook knocked down a three-point shot 23 feet away from the basket giving his team a 98-92 lead. Dallas did not have enough left in the tank to make another challenge and Oklahoma City would win the game and knot up the series.
Durant scored 24 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal while Harden added 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Russell Westbrook had 18 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds while Eric Maynor came off the bench with 13 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
Nowitzki scored 29 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while Chandler put up 15 points, grabbed 13 boards and had 1 assist. Jason Kidd had 13 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals while Barea came off the bench with 11 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. The series moves to Oklahoma City for game three on Saturday.