After watching Dirk Nowitzki carve up the Lakers in the Mavericks' stunning four-game sweep in the last round -- 25.3 points per game, 57.4% shooting -- it was nice to see the future Hall of Famer dish out some punishment to another foe Tuesday night. Nowitzki had one of the great playoff performances of all-time in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, leading Dallas to a 121-112 over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here are some numbers from Game 1:
Most Efficient Ever?: The raw numbers by themselves are staggering enough. Nowitzki scored 48 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists, and even blocked four shots. But, the most amazing part was that he scored those 48 points on just 15 shots! Nowitzki made 12-of-15 from the field, and his true shooting percentage was a staggering 93.9%, the highest in the last 21 years, per Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus.
Free Throws Galore: Nowitzki set an NBA playoff record by making 24 free throws without a miss, surpassing the previous record of 21-for-21 by Paul Pierce of the Celtics. Durant for the Thunder was no slouch himself, hitting 18 of his 19 shots from the charity stripe. The NBA scoring leader poured in 40 points and had a magnificent game in his own right.
Dallas Bench: After torching the Lakers, the Mavericks' bench came through again in Game 1, outscoring the Thunder reserves 53-22. Jason Terry scored 24 points, while Jose Barea added 21. The Dallas reserves shot 48.7% from the field, and hit 7-of-17 (41.2%) from three-point range.
Thunder Hanging In: Aside from Durant's 40 points, Oklahoma City got 20 from Russell Westbrook, and 12 more from James Harden. If they can take anything positive from this game, Westbrook is bound to shoot better than 3-of-15, and it took one of the great NBA games ever for Dallas to eek out a nine-point win. The Thunder outrebounded Dallas 35-33, and if they can continue to crash the boards and figure out a way to keep Dirk under, say 65% shooting, the Thunder have a good chance to steal Game 2 on Thursday night.
For more great Western Conference Finals coverage, be sure to check out SB Nation Dallas and the SB Nation series hub.