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Thunder edge Mavericks again to take 2-0 series lead

The Sports Xchange

They were down late in the fourth quarter again. Once again, the Thunder pulled it out.

And now they've got the defending champions down 2-0 as the first-round series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday. For a team that reached the Western Conference finals last season, the first two wins of this series might be the most impressive postseason performances in Oklahoma City's short history.

"It was big," Russell Westbrook said. "A lot of guys stepped up (Monday), especially on the defensive end. We got defensive rebounds, getting loose balls and that is what the playoffs are about, toughness."

Oklahoma City's execution down the stretch impressed Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

"That's what Dallas does. They challenge you," he said. "Not only in their physical play because you have to chase, you have to fight through every screen and you have to always stay with it; but mentally they challenge you.

"That's a very well-coached, experienced team. They know how to play basketball and they've done it for a lot of years at a high level. They've been through some tough times. Mentally, they challenge you. They seem to always make that extra pass. They know all the offensive wrinkles that you have to create for yourself. They're a good team. We just have to fight through everything they throw at us."

The Thunder's 102-99 victory didn't follow the exact script of the first game, when Oklahoma City rallied from seven points late, but Dallas was up 97-96 with less than a minute to play.

After the Thunder took the lead, the Mavericks had their chances. Dirk Nowitzki missed a turnaround and Jason Terry, covered by Thabo Sefolosha, misfired twice from deep in the last few seconds.

"The last shot, I thought Thabo did a good job of contesting," Brooks said. "They got the offensive rebound, and we did another good job of contesting."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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