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Nowitzki scores 48 as Mavs top Thunder in Game 1

Facing a long, boring wait for his next playoff game, Dirk Nowitzki did what he normally does. He went to the gym.

There were daytime sessions with his Dallas Mavericks teammates, of course, but also return trips at night. Knowing a chance for a return trip to the NBA finals was coming up, Nowitzki wanted to make sure his wide array of shots were as fine-tuned as ever.

When the Western Conference finals opened Tuesday night, Nowitzki acted as if the Oklahoma City Thunder and the 20,911 fans in the arena were merely there to watch another of his late-night workouts.

Inside, outside and from the foul line, Nowitzki put up a total of 39 shots and missed just three. He scored 48 points, leading the Mavericks to a 121-112 victory and answering any question about whether the long layoff might’ve left his club rusty.

“I really looked for my shot early and was able to get a good rhythm,” said Nowitzki, who also had six rebounds, four assists and four blocks. “For a shooter, obviously when the first couple go in, that’s even better for the confidence, and I just attacked from there. So, yeah, it was a good game.”

It didn’t matter whether Nowitzki was being covered by someone big or small, one guy or two. He simply made 10 of his first 11 field goals, and 12 of 15 overall. He was perfect on 24 free throws, setting an NBA postseason record for most foul shots made without a miss.

His 48 points were the most by anyone this postseason. It was two shy of his most ever in a playoff game, which came in the finale of the 2006 Western Conference finals. The Thunder better figure out a way to slow him soon, or else Dallas will be headed to the title round again…

Video: Dirk Nowitzki scores 48 points and pulls down six rebounds in the Mavericks 121-112 Game 1 win over the Thunder

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