Mavs pound Thunder 121-112

Dirk explodes for 48 points and a perfect 24-24 from the FT line.

Serge Ibaka stood right up to Dirk Nowitzki, stretching his 7-foot-4 wingspan to make the view of the basket as tough as possible.

Didn't matter.

Wherever he went, whoever he was up against, Nowitzki either nailed a shot or made his way to the foul line. He hit 10 of his first 11 shots from the field and an NBA playoff-record 24 straight free throws on the way to 48 points, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 121-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night.

The Thunder - fresh off a seven-game series against Memphis that included a total of four overtimes - led by nine points early in the second quarter, then went 6:28 between baskets. They missed 10 shots during that drought and were down by 11 when it ended. They eventually trailed by 16 before clawing within five points with 3:42 left, and six with 48.5 seconds to play.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Dallas, where the Mavs are 6-0 this postseason.

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