Dallas emphasizes the 'D'


The Dallas Mavericks used a defensive effort to overcome an off night from their superstar, retaking home-court advantage with a 93-87 win on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The effort by Dallas forced one of the worst three-point shooting performances in recent playoff history.

It was necessary considering Dirk Nowitzki finished with 18 points on an uncharacteristic 7-for-21 performance from the floor. Even worse, he finished with a playoff career-high seven turnovers.

It was just the fifth time in 116 playoff games that Dirk finished with as many turnovers as field goals.

Despite his off night, the Mavericks have won four straight playoff games on the road, tied for the longest such streak the past five seasons.

The Thunder finished 1-for-17 from the three-point line, tied for the second-worst performance from behind the three-point line in a playoff game the past 20 seasons.

The cold outside shooting helped offset the advantage Oklahoma City had at the free throw line, where they made 32 of 36 (compared to the 14-for-18 the Mavericks went from the charity stripe).

Russell Westbrook

WestbrookAfter not playing in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Russell Westbrook scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter Saturday to lead the Thunder, but did have seven turnovers.

He’s yet to play a game this series in which he has more assists than turnovers.

Kevin Durant finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds but missed all eight of his three-point attempts.

Missing shots from outside the paint was a recurring theme for Oklahoma City on Saturday.

After shooting 42.4 percent from five feet and beyond the first two games of the series, the Thunder made three field goals in the first half from that range and just nine for the game.

Dallas Mavericks Defense
On Isolation Plays This Series

Durant didn't help the cause, making just 4 of 18 attempts from at least five feet.

Much of the Mavericks' success on defense in Game 3 can be attributed to how they defended the Thunder in isolation situations.

The Thunder averaged 1.13 points per play in isolation the first two games of the series, averaging 15.5 isolations plays.

Maybe sensing an advantage, the Thunder ran 27 isolation plays in Game 3. But credit the Dallas defense, which held Oklahoma City to just 0.70 points per play on 4 of 17 from the field on such plays.