Nine days off  didn’t affect the seasoned Dallas Mavericks or its star Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki scored 48 points and JJ Barea added 21 off the bench to propel the Mavericks to a 121-112 over the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night in Dallas in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

This is the first Western Conference Finals since 1998 that didn’t feature the San Antonio Spurs or Los Angeles Lakers in what is becoming a coming out party for new blood in the NBA and Western Conference.

For the Thunder, they are playing their eighth game in the past two weeks and yet kept in the game until the final minutes when Nowitzki sealed the win with timely shots down the stretch and free throws late as he was 24-24 at the free throw line. If not for Nowitzki’s 48, Kevin Durant’s 40 points would have been all the more impressive.

The 48 by Nowitzki is two shy of his career playoff high in the 2006 Western Confence against the Phoenix Suns. Game 2 is Thursday night in Dallas at 8:30 p.m.