DONUT 1: Just the facts?
Mavs top OKC, 121-112, to begin the Western Conference Finals. Game 1 winners go onto capture the series 78.6 percent of the time. ... so it is a critical and telling step.
The UberMan finished with 48 points on only 15 field-goal attempts. ... meaning he averaged 3.2 points per attempt!
His final numbers: 12-of-15 shooting, and a record-setting 24-of-24 from the free-throw line, to total 48 points, six rebounds, four assists, four blocks and only two turnovers.
In the third quarter alone, Dirk had 17 points on 2-of-3 shots, but went 13-of-13 from the line.
Dirk set an NBA playoff record by making 24 free throws without a miss; these makes also set a career and franchise-high.
Those 24 made free throws also come in second in playoff history to only Bob Cousy's 30 makes in 1953 … and it took four overtimes for him to reach that number.
By making 13 free throws in the third period, Dirk tied Michael Jordan for the playoff record for free-throws made in a quarter, a record he also tied in the fourth quarter of Game 1 against Portland.
DONUT 2: Believe it or not, though, there is something bigger than that brewing ... something big-picture that relates to Nowitzki's performance in a cause-and-effect way.
Check out Jason Kidd in our postgame Video Visit:
The question is innocuous enough, something about "the look in Dirk's eyes,'' or whatever.
Ah, but that answer from the man with arguably the highest BBIQ in the history of the sport, a man who knows Dirk inside and out ...
"He believes we can win. Any time you believe your team can win and believe in your teammates, you tend to play at a higher level. ... Everybody's jumped on board.''
That's something more that lip service or the garden-variety confidence that every team professes to have. Dirk's believe that THIS team can win a title is what separates this group from "same-ol'-Mavs'' territory.
Jason Kidd's BBIQ answer is The Most Important Thing You Will Learn All Day.
DONUT 3: Late last night, "The Sports Guy'' Bill Simmons asked the world how NBA players have done in terms of big scoring with few misses.
Asked and answered, DB.com reader Bill Simmons! From what we can find so far, in the last 20 years (thanks, Nick!):
In the regular season, with zero misses, Gary Payton scored 32 in 1995; with one miss, Ced Ceballos scored 40 in 1993.
In the playoffs: with zero misses, Yao scored 24 in 2009; with one miss, Yao scored 33 in 2005 (against the Mavs); with two misses, Dirk scored 36 against the Spurs in 2010; and now, with misses, there is Dirk with 48.
So yes, accounting so far for the last 20 years, Dirk's is the best-ever performance in terms of high-points/low-misses.
DONUT 4: It ain't braggin' if it's true?
Jet said it was his intention to single-handedly "outperform'' the entire OKC bench. "That's what I do,'' he said.
The bench scoring went Dallas 53 and OKC 22. In fact, it also went Jason Terry 24, OKC 22, Barea 21.
It's still bragging. But the vulnerability there was such that Dallas had TWO guys who each outperformed the entire OKC bench.
DONUT 5: Mark Cuban's silence is golden. ... as celebrated on the Channel 8 pregame show with Fish, Riba and Hansen:
And indeed, about all Cuban said before the game is that silence is "golden, baby.''
Hey, anytime we can poke fun at Cuban AND Hansen, all in the same 80 seconds, we're in!
DONUT 6: It is Kevin Durant's position that he will "bet my whole house'' that Russell Westbrook doesn't again hit only 3-of-15 shots.
I mean, that SOUNDS right, right? Except that during his three games against Dallas this year, what did he shoot?
So actually, for the year, 3-of-13 is about right.
Durant's point is well-taken, course. In four games now, the All-NBA guard is 17-of-57. That won't continue, surely.
DONUT 7: Rick Carlisle continues to push all the right buttons.
Big Wood in for TY and the effectiveness stays the same? Check. JJB forcing OKC to alter its lineup? Check. Zone defense to slow Westbrook drives? Check. Dirk slashing through so many defensive options that the Thunder considered putting into the game some Sooners footballers, Maria Schriver, Dan Gilbert's 14-year-old son, anybody ... Check.
But here's a biggie: Late first half. Kendrick Perkins, with a scowl so ugly that his bathroom mirror issues him a Flagrant-1 every morning, delievers an accidental 'bow to 'Trix's face. (Violent enough to cause the Mavs to fear he'd broken his nose. X-rays said "no,'' but the impact was close enough.)
Rick Carlisle gets upset. Goes a little nuts in protest and gets a T.
But wait ...
What did Rick want the refs to do? They couldn't stop play; there was no foul called and it was OKC's ball. Yet Rick stormed onto the court and made his scene. ...
And suddenly, a maybe-inspired Mavs team -- thinking it'd been wronged -- went on a 16-3 run to close the half.
Perk punched a button on Shawn's face, Rick punched a button with a ref, and angry Mavs take control. Probably not a coincidence.
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And of course, make sure you milk all you can out of DB.com today ... First Impressions, in which we analyze Dirk's night ... Quoteboard, with all the quotes from the locker rooms Series predictions from Coop and Followill and the whole staff ... Our awarding of The Player of the Game, "The Dirkie'' ... ... And Your All-Access Pass, the most in-depth Mavs coverage on the planet! Enjoy!
DONUT 9: So our David Lord is eavesdropping on an ESPN roundtable after the game, and a bunch of talking heads are talking, and someone starts trying to come up with a way to describe JJ Barea and his impact on the game and in the playoffs.
Several talking heads are talking over each other, and in the background Hannah Storm's voice is given a sliver of room. And she slides in a gem that captures Mr. Universe in a way that is both insulting and complimentary.
"He,'' Hannah says, "is a gnat or an elf."
Beautiful, because the sentence conveys the misconception that Barea is "like 5-5 or something'' (he's 5-10) while also capturing the magic he performed with his 21 points ... one fewer than the entire OKC bench.
JJB on the pick-and-pop with Dirk? Set up by Nowitzki, because the Thunder obviously had to stick with him, Barea was given freedom to scoot about at will.
How do you swat a gnat who is also an elf? OKC actually tried Nate Robinson and a four-guard lineup ... and no, strategic desperation does not swat-stop a Gnat-Elf.
DONUT 10: In OKC, this morning, they are trudging about Bricktown, hungover and sad, but not yet turning to OU football season because ...
The Thunder got blown out in a game that wasn't a blowout.
Look at it from the OKC perspective: Durant is as unstoppable and unflappable as Dirk. OKC got to within five late. They did so with a wobbly Westbrook, an inconsequential Harden, no bench and foul trouble from the jump. They can argue that Dirk won't do THAT again ... and that as soon as they put G1 out of their heads, they can proceed to Thursday's G2 and get the series even.
Now, if you are young ... young franchise, young coach, young team led by young stars ... can you easily erase G1 from your heads?
DONUT 11: Inspiring?
I'm pretty sure some of those specifics references are lost on the players themselves. But it's classic "Us-against-Them'' stuff, newly-created and played on the Jumbotron last night.
"Us-against-Them'' gave the 21,000 in attendance a nice jolt. ... so maybe Bob Ortegel's old "boomerang effect'' inspired the Boys in Blue. ...
DONUT 12: It was exactly one series ago when Kevin Durant proclaimed Zach Randolph to be the best power forward in the game.
Kevin Durant was so right in Game 1, with his 40 points almost keeping pace with Dirk. But Kevin Durant's NBA talent evaluation is so wrong.