Sunday, May 26, 2024

Oklahoma Thunder Roar Past Dallas, Send Message as NBA’s No. 1 Seed

HomeSports NewsOklahoma Thunder Roar Past Dallas, Send Message as NBA's No. 1 Seed

The Oklahoma City Thunder came out smokin’ hot in Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks, streaking to a 117-95 rout that firmly put the rest of the NBA on notice. This young, brash OKC squad isn’t just happy to be here – they’re dead-set on cutting down the nets and capturing that elusive Larry O’B.

From the opening tip, a thunderous roar reverberated through the Paycom Center as the top-seeded Thunder hit the court draped in alternating blue and white giveaway tees. But it was the cold-blooded shotmaking of OKC’s young gunners that really brought the house down midway through the third quarter.

Splashing a torrent of triple-tries from every corner of the earth, the Thunder erupted with a tsunami-like wave that overwhelmed Rick Carlisle’s Mavs. A deafening decibel level was reached as OKC poured in six straight nuclear bombs from distance to blow the game wide open.

“It’s simply who we are at this point,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “That outside shooting muscle has been strengthened through the fires of adversity all season long.”

Rain of Fire From Oklahoma’s Flamethrowers You already know OKC paced the entire NBA in three-point shooting at a scorching 38.9% clip during the regular season. Well, they put that prowess on full display, splashing a franchise playoff-record 16 triples on 29 dimes.

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The fireworks began with game-leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander effortlessly rising up to bury not one, but two cold-blooded step-back threes to silence the Mavs’ momentum. The mustachioed Canadian marksman poured in 29 points, knocking down every clutch shot imaginable.

But SGA had plenty of running mates letting it fly from distance. Dervish-like whirling dervish Isaiah Joe splashed a pair of massive heat-check triples off the pine. Rookie flamethrower Cason Wallace scorched the twine from the corners on his way to double figures.

Heck, even second-year stud Jalen Williams awoke from an early-game slumber to torch the nets for 10 fourth-quarter points – doing the bulk of his damage with razor-sharp shooter’s rolls on Gilgeous-Alexander’s bench stint.

“I thought our offensive rythmhad an incredible flow in that second half,” analyzed Daigneault. “We were incredibly intelligent and aggressive in our attacks while taking exactly what the defense was giving us.”

Dallas’ Star-Powered Backcourt Snuffed Out On the other side, Dallas’ vaunted backcourt duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving never could get cooking from anywhere on the floor.

The recently-extended wunderkind Doncic spent most of the night moving a step slow in his first game back from a nagging knee issue. He hoisted multiple bricklayers from his customary triple-threat posture, only managing to hit the bottom of the net once in eight attempts from distance.

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Perhaps most frustrating for the Slovenian stalwart was his complete inability to find a cutting teammate for one of his signature sweet-sixteen oops. credit for that defensive disruption goes to the ridiculously long limbs of Thunder rookie revelation Chet Holmgren.

“I’m just trying to make everything as difficult as possible out there,” said the 7-foot-1 Holmgren in his typical aw-shucks fashion. “Using my length to be as active as I can on both ends.”

Holmgren’s octopus-like arms seemed to always be in Doncic’s line of sight, walling off any potential driving lanes. When Luka did attempt to sky a oop for roll man Dereck Lively, the lob sailed harmlessly off the back iron.

OKC’s snakepit defense featured a plethora of long, switchable defenders flying around with synchronized precision. Josh Giddey was there clogging the paint at all times, while Jalen Williams’s sturdy frame provided a security blanket against any potential mouse in the house.

“I felt our week of preparation for this series really paid off in a major way tonight,” said Daigneault. “But as we all know, that prep process resets immediately for Game 2.”

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Lack of Scoring Support Dooms Mavs With their two established stars completely bottled up by OKC’s swarming defensive coverages, Dallas desperately needed some secondary scoring punch that never materialized.

Potential Sixth Man of the Year Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to search in vain for his lost outside stroke. The sharpshooter seems to have forgotten how to shoot, missing all four of his three-point attempts.

Josh Green provided a brief spark off the bench, hitting his first two triple tries before missing six of his next seven. Each time Doncic would find him wide open on the weak side, you could visibly see the young superstar’s frustration levels rising as Green’s shots continuously clanked off the iron.

“Give OKC’s defense a ton of credit – they have an elite level rim protector back there in Chet who can make things really tough,” said Irving. “We have to do a better job making plays for our bigs when we’re able to get paint touches.”

If the Mavs’ role players can’t rise to the occasion and provide some much-needed scoring support, this thunderously talented OKC squad could be well on their way to burying Dallas in an 0-2 hole and removing all doubt about the new sheriffs running this town out West.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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