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NBA -- Thunder dismiss Mavs, set semis showdown with Spurs


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant providing a lethal 1-2 punch, the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, winning Game 5 of their opening round series, 118-104 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Westbrook fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 36 points, 12 rebounds and 9 dimes while Durant drilled 11 of 24 field goals for 33 points as the Thunder closed out the best-of-7 affair, 4-1.

The triumph set the stage for a Western Conference semifinals showdown between the No.3 seed Thunder and the No.1 ranked San Antonio Spurs, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 4-0 sweep over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Playing on a blistering pace, the Thunder shot 50.6 percent from the field (41-of-81) and 33.3 percent from 3-point range (10-of-30). Steven Adams played well manning the paint -- 15 points and 10 rebounds -- while Dion Waiters chipped in 11 points from the bench.

The defeat sent the Mavs off to early vacation. But they didn't go out without a fight.

"We battled hard. We battled unbelievably hard even to get to the sixth seed, winning six in a row when everybody thought we were dead. So I'm proud of the guys. We gave it all we had," said Dirk Nowitzki, who led Dallas' gallant stand with 24 points.

Despite playing without Chandler Parsons (torn meniscus), David Lee (partial plantar fascists tear) and Deron Williams (sports hernia), the Mavs inched to within 101-98 with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter. But the Thunder silenced the uprising with a 15-5 run that put OKC ahead 116-103 in the final 53 seconds.

Photo: Dirk Nowitzki finds himself surrounded by two OKC players on Monday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC where the Thunder advanced to the second round of playoffs by dispatching the Mavericks in five games.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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