DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-116 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals to clinch a series victory. Many players on the Thunder experienced the NBA playoffs for the first time in 2024. Chet Holmgren was among the players to make his NBA postseason debut.

Before Game 6, Holmgren revealed what lessons he's learned for his first NBA playoff experience.

“I wouldn't say it's any one single thing,” Holmgren told reporters on Saturday after the Thunder's shoot-around. “I've definitely learned that nothing is guaranteed. Anything can happen. A single call can change the course of your season. A single step, twisted ankle, single missed shot, single offensive rebound. You really gotta go out there, give it your all. Make sure that those singular plays kind of go in your direction.”

Holmgren performed well in his rookie season. In fact, he probably would have won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in almost any other campaign. Of course, Victor Wembanyama cruised to winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award given his outstanding season. Nevertheless, Holmgren finished second in voting and played a pivotal role in Oklahoma City's success.

Chet Holmgren's first NBA playoff appearance draws Mark Daigneault take

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center.
Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder feature a young core of players. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished second in NBA MVP voting. Jalen Williams looks like a future star.

And Chet Holmgren is going to be one of the better big men in the league for years to come. Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault addressed Holmgren's first appearance in the NBA playoffs before Game 6.

“Great, these guys are awesome,” Daigneault said. “They're leaning into it. We don't sit here and try to pretend that we've been here 10 times. We understand this is our first run together. But at the end of the day, the guys are growing throughout the experiences. I think we've gained a lot of confidence over the course of this time… He's (Holmgren) an example of that. The playoffs are tough, you're playing against the best teams. High stakes over and over and over again.

“So it's not smooth-sailing for any player or any team. I think our guys understand that. We've got hoopers. We've got a resilient group of guys that are excited to play, he's excited to play.”

The future is bright for the Thunder. However, the Mavericks are led by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic. Both players are not only superstars, but they feature more than enough postseason experience.

In the end, the Mavs spoke positively of the Thunder. It appears that both teams respect one another following such a hard-fought series.

Holmgren's performance in Thunder-Mavericks series

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) reacts to an official’s call after a play against the Dallas Mavericks during the first quarter of game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Holmgren had some big moments in the Western Conference Semifinals. He averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per outing in the series. Oklahoma City would have certainly liked to see Holmgren contribute more in the rebounding department. Still, the Thunder rookie had a respectable postseason overall.

Following Game 6, Holmgren addressed the possibility of using the loss to the Mavericks as motivation moving forward in his career, quote via ClutchPoints.

“I'm definitely gonna remember it,” Holmgren said. “It's hard to tell what you remember more, the wins or the losses. But this definitely stings, it doesn't feel great. It's definitely kind of a driving force to not want to feel this feeling again. Nobody wins 12 straight championships, so the chances that I'm gonna feel this at some point again is definitely there, but I'm going to do everything in my power to avoid this feeling again.”