The Dallas Mavericks title defense came to an abrupt end as the Mavericks lose their first round series in a sweep against the team they beat in last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of their series at the American Airlines Center 103-97. This is the 2nd straight season that the defending champions got swept in a playoff series. Ironically, it was the Mavericks who done it last year to the then back-to-back defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers during their 2nd round match-up. This is also the 2nd time a defending champion got swept in the first round in 5 years since the Miami Heat who won the title in 2006 suffer a first round sweep at the hands of the Chicago Bulls in 2007. The Mavericks are the first team to be knocked out of the 2012 NBA Playoffs in which nobody expected they will be so. For the Thunder, they advance to the 2nd round and will face the winner between the #3 Los Angeles Lakers and the #6 Denver Nuggets in which the Lakers lead the series 2-1.
James Harden off the bench led the Thunder with 29 points (15 of them in the 4th quarter including a clutch lay-up in the final moments of the game), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Kevin Durant finished with a double-double 24 points and 11 rebounds with 4 assists and 2 blocks. Russell Westbrook added 12 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Derek Fisher scored 12. Serge Ibaka added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
2011 NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Jason Kidd added 16 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Jason Terry who regularly comes off the bench, started the game and finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Ian Mahinmi off the bench added 10 points and 5 rebounds. Shawn Marion added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Vince Carter added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
In Orlando, the Indiana Pacers are now one win away from advancing to the 2nd round for the first time since 2005 as they defeat the Orlando Magic in Game 4 of their series at the Amway Center 101-99. Game 5 will be back in Indianapolis on May 9. David West led the Pacers with a double-double 26 points and 12 rebounds. Danny Granger added 21 points and 7 rebounds. Roy Hibbert also finished with a double-double 14 points and 11 rebounds with 3 blocks. Geroge Hill added 12 points, 5 assists and 2 steals. Darren Collison off the bench added 11 points, 9 assists and 2 steals. Jason Richardson led the Magic with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Glen Davis finished with a double-double 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jameer Nelson also finished with a double-double 12 points and 11 assists with 6 rebounds. 2012 Most Improved Player Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu each scored 11. J.J. Redick off the bench added 10 points and 7 assists.
In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Clippers pull off another comeback victory as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 3 of their first round series at the Staples Center 87-86. Game 4 will be in Los Angeles on May 8. Chris Paul led the Clippers with a double-double 24 points and 11 assists with 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Blake Griffin added 17 points and 4 rebounds. Randy Foye added 16 points and 4 rebounds. Mo Williams scored 8 off the bench. Reggie Evans pulled down 11 rebounds. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Zach Randolph added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Marc Gasol finished with a double-double 11 points and 10 rebounds. Quincy Pondexter off the bench also scored 11.
In Salt Lake City, the San Antonio Spurs take a 3-0 lead in their first round series against the Utah Jazz at the EnergySolutions Arena 102-90. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 27 points and 6 assists. Tim Duncan added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Danny Green added 14 points and 6 rebounds. Stephen Jackson added 13 points and 2 blocks off the bench. Tiago Splitter added 10 points and 8 rebounds. Manu Ginobili dished out 10 assists with 6 points and 5 rebounds. Al Jefferson led the Jazz with a double-double 21 points and 11 rebounds. Devin Harris added 21 points and 5 assists. Derrick Favors also finished with a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 blocks. Rookie Alec Burks scored 11 off the bench. Paul Millsap pulled down 11 rebounds with 9 points and 5 blocks
2012 NBA Playoffs Bracket (as of 14:27 PHT)
#1 Spurs vs #8 Jazz (Spurs lead series 3-0)
Game 4: May 8, 8:00 am PHT on Basketball TV
#4 Grizzlies vs #5 Clippers (Clippers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: May 8, 10:30 am PHT on NBA Premium TV
#3 Lakers vs #6 Nuggets (Lakers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: May 7, 9:30 am PHT on Studio 23 and Basketball TV
#2 Thunder vs #7 Mavericks
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER WINS SERIES 4-0
#1 Bulls vs #8 76ers (76ers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: May 7, 1:00 am PHT on NBA Premium TV
#4 Celtics vs #5 Hawks (Celtics lead series 2-1)
Game 4: May 7, 7:00 am PHT on Basketball TV
#3 Pacers vs #6 Magic (Pacers lead series 3-1)
Game 5: May 9, 7:00 am PHT on Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV