Mavs’ fast early start without Dirk powers them to Game 3 win over OKC

The Dallas Mavericks don’t necessarily need Dirk Nowtizki to be successful.

As their superstar forward weathered a miserable start Saturday night, the Mavericks didn’t miss a beat.

Shawn Marion scored 18 points and Jason Kidd added 13 as the Mavericks overcame a miserable start by Nowtizki and still cruised to a 93-87 victory at Oklahoma City. It gave them a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series.

Nowitzki scored 18 points, but missed 10 of his first 14 shots in a struggling early slump and had seven turnovers.

“He’s our guy,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle  told reporters after the game. “If he misses a few shots, he’s not going to get deterred, he’s not going to get discouraged. He’s got the kind of will, he’s going to keep going at it.”

A bigger story was Dallas’ defense. Oklahoma City missed 15 of its first 19 shots as Dallas cruised to an early 35-12 lead.

Oklahoma City was limited to 36.5 percent from the field and missed their first 16 3-point attempts before Russell Westbrook converted one in the final minute.

“Tonight we played championship-level defense for the first time in the series,” Carlisle said.

As a result, the Mavericks reclaimed homecourt advantage in the series — even when Nowitzki wasn’t really a big part of their performance.


Dallas F Shawn Marion: Posted 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting, and added four rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals in a mighty defensive performance in the Mavericks’ 93-87 victory at Oklahoma City in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. He also helped limit Kevin Durant to 24 points as the NBA’s leading scorer needed 23 shots to get 24 points and went to the line only three times.  

Dallas G Jason Kidd: Filled the scoresheet with 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds, four steals and was plus-6 in the Mavericks’ victory at the Thunder.

Dallas C Tyson Chandler: Muscled for eight points, 15 rebounds, two steals, a blocked shot and was plus-11 in the Mavericks’ triumph at Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook: Scored a game-high 30 points, grabbed four rebounds, provided two steals and was plus-5 in the Thunder’s loss  to Dallas.


Oklahoma City’s perimeter shooting: The Thunder clanked through a 1-for-17 effort beyond the 3-point arc, missing their first 16 3-pointers and not converting their first from beyond the arc until the final minute.

Oklahoma City’s early offense: Frigid wouldn’t have been a strong enough description for the Thunder’s early struggles. Oklahoma City missed 15 of its first 19 shots and committed eight turnovers while Dallas rushed out to a commanding 35-12 lead in their Saturday loss.

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