DALLAS _ Another game has come and gone where the Dallas Mavericks bench put its stamp on yet another victory.
With all due respect to Dirk Nowitzki and his record-setting day, the Mavs’ bench outscored Oklahoma City’s bench 53-22 as Dallas took Game 1 o f the Western Conference Finals, 121-112. Tuesday’s game basically mirrored what the Mavs have done all season – smack teams around with their bench.
Most of the smacking Tuesday came form Jason Terry (24 points) and JJ Barea (21 points).During one 3:34 stretch of the fourth quarter, Barea tallied 12 unanswered points that help the Mavs’ lead swell to 104-89.
“He’s a talented young player that has improved every year he’s been in the league,’’ OKC coach Scott Brooks said. “He gets in (the paint) because he has a great handle, he has great quickness and he’s crafty and they set great screens for him.
“He was able to collapse the defense and he made the three’s. He’s good.’’
The Mavs already know that.
Terry said: “What JJ Barea did not only in the second half, but in the fourth quarter he kind of took control of the game and getting a basket, assisting on a basket or playing pick-and-roll basketball, which we like. And he kept the momentum going.’’
Barea did his damage in only 16 minutes. He even outplayed Russell Westbrook, Koch’s All-Star point guard who was 3-of-15 form the field and scored 20 points.
“He did a good job of getting into the paint,’’ Westbrook said. “That’s his game.’’
Thunder reserve guard James Harden actually said: “I think we did a good job on their bench guys. Terry and Barea were hitting shots and making plays.
“Other than that, Dirk’s going to get his touches. So we have to limit everybody else.’’
And that’s exactly what the Thunder didn’t do.
Nowitzki was spinning, dunking, banking in shots and making 24-of-24 free throws and scoring 48 points in a very dominating performance. And the Mavs’ bench was just doing what they do best – being a factor in the game.
“Our bench has been great for us all season long and they came through for us tonight,’’ said Nowitzki, who converted 12-of-15 shots. “That pick-and-roll was really working for us in the fourth quarter and (Barea) was able to get in the lane.
“And when they went under (the screen) he hit a big three for us, so he was big for us.’’
Terry, meanwhile, drilled the three-pointer from the right corner that sealed the game and out the Mavs up 119-110 with 28.9 seconds remaining.
“They both played well, they were both aggressive,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “As the series goes on we’ll be seeing different coverages, different matchups and so forth.
“Those guys have got to be ready for anything. We bring a lot of our better players off the bench and so we need those guys to well, and we count on them.’’
That they do.
“Jason Kidd compared (Barea) to me, but that’s way off,’’ Brooks said. “I’m nowhere near as good as that kid.
“(But) he’s not going to be a general manager.’’
-- Dwain Price
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