I’m not happy at all… I’m not happy for [Dirk Nowitzki] at all, because I want to be there.
Kevin Durant, on Dirk making it to the NBA Finals.
You gotta respect that kind of heart. // Like NBAmmkay on Facebook
In honor of the fabulous season the Thunder have had, here are Durant’s top 10 plays from this past season (couldn’t find a team top 10 video, this’ll do).
Dallas won tonight’s game (again, from behind) 100-96 and wins the series 4-1, advancing to the NBA Finals against the winner of MIA/CHI.
Thing I keep reminding myself is that Rose and Durant are both 22…youngsters don’t win NBA titles unless your name is Magic…
Oklahoma City dominated the Mavs all game; on the boards, shooting from the field, blocked shots. In fact, Dallas only got their first lead with 4:44 left in overtime. So how did Dallas come away with a 3-1 series lead after all this?
The big moments got lodged in the throats of Durant and Westbrook, and they choked on them. To compare their performances to Dallas’ top two scorers tonight (Dirk and Terry), OKC’s pair combined for 16 of 44 from the field, a mere 36%, while the Dallas duo shot 19 for 39, connecting on 48% of their shot attempts.
Here’s the kicker: KD and Russ combined for 15 turnovers, while Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson, Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Brendan Haywood, Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea (yes, every Dallas Maverick who played) had only 13.
Dirk was amazing as he has been all postseason, dropping 40 points on 12-20 shooting and prompting this masculinity-crushing post from me.
The Thunder had not lost back-to-back games all postseason until tonight. Portions of the normally faithful Oklahoma crowd were seen leaving early, which may just foreshadow Oklahoma City’s exit from the playoffs. As Mike Breen said on-air, this was truly “a crushing defeat for the young Thunder.”
I sincerely apologize that this is the first thing I thought of to describe how Dirk Nowitzki has been this game and all series, but the man just can’t be tamed.
Overtime right now on ESPN.
Oklahoma City has shot 42% in their losses this series and 56% in their win. Hmmm, shooting seems important.
That Shawn Marion fella was helpful last game (18 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks), although that was due to increased minutes (25 minutes first game, 25 the second, and 38 the last game), so really, he was just doing what he’s been doing.
Game 4, tonight at 9ET on ESPN.
PTI’s Michael Wilbon’s twitter has been a great source for factoids and interesting points during these NBA playoffs. Here are a few of his thoughts from last night’s Mavs/Thunder game:
JJ Barea increasingly does so many things like Steve Nash now, the way he keeps his dribble alive and arcs that shot over bigs…
Here’s what has to be addressed about lack of ball movement: 10 possessions in the 4th Qt. Westbrook was the only player to touch the ball
Final stat of the night: Dallas had 14 assists on 21 first-half baskets. OKC had 11 assists all night, on 27 baskets.
Despite outscoring Dallas 51 to 41 in the second half, the Thunder couldn’t overcome their early scoring woes and poor shooting (36% from the field) to secure a victory, going down 1-2 in the series. In fact, before Westbrook hit a 3 in the fourth, OKC was on pace to set a playoff record for most three-point attempts without a make.
Dallas’ balanced scoring attack (Kidd and Terry with 13 points, Marion and Dirk with 18 each) outdid Westbrook’s 30 and KD’s 24, which makes my Dallas-in-6 prediction look more and more likely.
The series continues Monday, so be there or be square/doing-something-else-with-the-fact-that-you’re-missing-the-Dirk-Durant-show-gnawing-at-you.
9 to 5
Nine Dallas players have scored while only five OKC players have, which is likely a big ol’ reason for the Mavericks’ 52-36 halftime advantage. Dirk has been pedestrian (four points, two rebounds, four turnovers), but Dallas hasn’t needed a big night from him as their scoring is coming from a variety of sources.
The Thunder’s numbers look worse than they’ve been playing because of the awful start to the game, down 21-8 at one point. Dallas only outscored Oklahoma City 25-24 in the second quarter, so perhaps Durant and his Thunder are poised to mount a second-half comeback.
Assuming the Rapture doesn’t roll in a few hours late, we’ll find out in the second half, coming up soon on ESPN.