The visiting Thunder are going to have to find a way to corral Dirk Nowitzki tonight if they hope to even their NBA Western Conference final with the Mavericks at a game apiece.
The veteran All-Star shot 12 of 15 from the field and made all 24 of his free throws en route to a 48-point performance that led Dallas to a 121-112 victory in Tuesday night's series opener.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks studied the tape of Nowitzki looking for clues of how his club could do a better job in Game 2 against the Mavericks on Thursday night.
That's when the frustration really settled in.
Of the 12 shots Nowitzki made, nine were closely guarded. Brooks concluded that Nowitzki just had one of those nights that superstars have, making almost everything he put up and getting to the foul line when he didn't.
So Brooks said Wednesday he's not planning on double- or triple-teaming Nowitzki, or trying to keep him from getting the ball. Brooks is going to encourage his guys to foul Nowitzki less and hope the big German's aim is off.
The Mavs haven't lost since blowing a big lead late in Game 4 of their first-round series against Portland. Their roll of seven straight playoff wins shatters the previous club-best of four.
This is the 33rd time a team has won at least seven in a row in the playoffs; 18 have made it to at least eight in a row, including the Lakers and Magic last season, according to research by STATS LLC.
After tonight's outing, the Mavericks and Thunder head to Oklahoma City for Game 3 Saturday evening and Game 4 on Monday night.