Thunder overcomes Dallas to advance

Oklahoma City will face another Texas team – San Antonio – in the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs after the Thunder dispatched Dallas in five games.

Oklahoma City won at home Monday night by a score of 118-104. The Thunder is now the only Western Conference team to win each of its past five opening round series, and one of just three NBA teams to win nine-or-more postseason series since 2010.

“They’re a hard team to guard with Dirk (Nowitzki),” said Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “We decided mid-way through the fourth to do some switching, and I thought that helped us get some stops.”

Kevin Durant went 11-for-24 from the field with 33 points and seven rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 36 points on 13-for-23 shooting, with a game-high 12 rebounds and nine assists.

“They pressed us, played zone and double teamed us,” Durant said. “They stayed tight on our shooters on the perimeter. It allowed Russ to get downhill and make decisions. He made great decisions all series and guys finished.”

“They tried to find ways to hide guys and do different things. Our job is to be able to expose them,” Westbrook said. “I just tried to stay in attack mode all night long and stay aggressive.”

Before the game, Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban said Westbrook was “not a superstar.”

“He’s an idiot,” Durant said of Cuban. “Don’t listen to him. He’s an idiot. That’s what we’ve got to say about that. He’s an idiot.”

When Nowitzki was asked about the comment, he said, “I’ll take him (Westbrook).”

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Cuban speaks for himself.

“There’s three superstars out there,” Carlisle said of Game 5. “Westbrook, Durant and Nowitzki. Dirk’s an all-time great player; that’s been proven. And both Durant and Westbrook are destined (to be all-time greats); I just think they are that good. I thought Westbrook played beautiful basketball this year.

“I don’t think there were many people out there in the basketball world that thought he’d be able to turn his game into both a scoring and distributing game, but he led the league in triple-doubles. That’s a great credit to him and I think his coach Billy Donovan probably had some influence there, too.”

Steven Adams recorded a playoff career-high Monday night with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with 10 rebounds for his second playoff double-double of his NBA journey career.

“Steven is evolving defensively to be one of those unique centers,” Donovan said. “He has such flexibility, such good feet and he’s really smart defensively. He did an incredible job in this series all the way around.”

Western Conference

Opening round

  1. Golden State/8. Houston
  2. LA Clippers/5. Portland

Golden State holds a 3-1 lead over Houston and the Clippers are tied with Portland at 2-2.

  1. Oklahoma City/6. Dallas
  2. San Antonio/7. Memphis

San Antonio swept Memphis 4-0 and Oklahoma City beat Dallas 4-1. Oklahoma City and San Antonio will play game one in San Antonio on Saturday.

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland/8. Detroit
  2. Atlanta/5. Boston

Cleveland swept Detroit 4-0 and awaits the winner of the Atlanta/Boston series, which is tied at 2-2 (who played on April 26).

  1. Miami/6. Charlotte
  2. Toronto/7. Indiana

Miami is tied with Charlotte 2-2 while Toronto and Indiana are tied at 2-2 (they played on April 26).