The Oklahoma City Thunder did some growing up in game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks. They battled and played with poise to edge out a 106-100 victory and tie the series at 1-1.
It all started when Kevin Durant shook Peja Stojakovic at the top of the key, after getting by him, Durant went airborne and threw down one of the greatest playoff dunks you will ever see over the 7 foot Haywood. It was posterization at its finest and it seemed to spark the Thunder.
The Thunder defended well, they limited the production of Barea and Terry and they were able to keep Nowtizki off the free throw line.
But it was the bench that stepped up for OKC in game 2. Maynor had 13, Cook had 8, and James Harden had a monster game with 23 points.
Scott Brooks made the key decision to sit Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter and ride the strong play of his bench to victory.
Even though Russell Westbrook played well, the more I watch his game, the more I question whether OKC is a better team with him playing the point.
Maynor controlled tempo and was able to contain Barea. Sitting Westbrook also allowed Harden, a much more complete player, to establish himself on the offensive end.
OKC looked like a more balanced and better offensive team with Westbrook on the bench, but don’t expect Scott Brooks to give up on his young star just yet. That said, Westbrook has never been a true point guard.
At UCLA, he played back-up at the combo guard position and then joined the NBA based purely on athletic ability. As for Maynor and Harden, both played point guard in college at VCU and Arizona State respectively, and both are familiar with what it takes to run a team.
Westbrook has shown that he’s more of a scorer than a floor general, it will be interesting to see how Scott Brooks handles the Westbrook situation moving forward.
The Mavs are able to get plenty of production from Barea and Terry off the bench, you wonder if Brooks is thinking about doing the same with Westbrook.
Here’s the nastiness that was Durant’s monster dunk.