#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #6 Dallas Mavericks, Series tied 1-1 (7pm ET Thursday, TNT)
After getting buried in Game 1 by a score of 108-70, the Dallas Mavericks won an 85-84 stunner that went in the books only after a replay review waved off a Steven Adams putback that would’ve won the game for the Thunder. OKC’s Russell Westbrook had a tough night, making just 8 of 22 shots for 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 6 assists. But Westbrook was a veritable sharpshooter next to his running mate, Kevin Durant, who made just 7 of 33 for 21 points, his 26 misses matching Michael Jordan for the most in the last… forever? “Bad shooting night for me,” Durant said in a bid for understatement of the year. Collectively, the Thunder made just 34% of their field goals.
The Mavericks showed a ton of heart in winning this seesaw battle that saw 17 lead changes and had Dallas in the lead one second longer than Thunder. But the Mavs did not play particularly well, making only 43% of their field goals, 26% of their 3’s, and just 53% of their free throws, while also getting outrebounded 54-45. Nobody showed more grit than Dallas guard Deron Williams, who’d checked out of Sunday’s blowout with an abdominal strain, and was questionable for Game 2, but managed to lace ‘em up and score 11 points in the first 5 minutes. The series now heads to Dallas tied with the Mavs holding home court advantage.
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #8 Houston Rockets, GSW leads series 2-0 (9:30pm ET Thursday, TNT)
The Warriors lit up the Rockets in Game 1, trouncing them 104-78, but Golden State still went to bed with a sickness in the pit of their collective stomach as they’d watched in horror as Steph Curry left the game early with an injured ankle. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wisely opted not to let Curry play on Monday, and the gambit paid off as his team won again, 115-106. Tragically for the Rockets, the inevitable consequence of Curry being out of commission was that Klay Thompson became the Warriors’ first option on offense, and the Splash Brother responded with 34 points, while Draymond Green posted a typically Draymond-esque line of 12-14-8.
The Rockets’ James Harden did what he could, dropping 28 points and 11 dimes, while Dwight howard went 12-10-4, but Houston simply lacked the firepower or the D to match up with the Warriors, even in the absence of Curry, who cut short his pre-game routine in apparent discomfort. It’s hard to imagine Kerr letting Curry play any time soon, certainly not before the Warriors lose a game in this series.