Last night I was ready to watch some Maverick basketball. Unfortunately Thunder was not contained to Oklahoma City. Heavy thunderstorms came through my hometown causing me to miss large portions of the game. What I was able to see made me sick. The Thunder stormed out of the gate, hitting every shot, and jumping out to a quick lead. The Mavs were lucky to be trailing by only 9 points after the first period. The little bit of action I saw in the second and third quarters, the Thunder was able to answer any Maverick run. I went to bed, disappointed, consoling myself with the fact that the Mavs had 2 more home games.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on Sportscenter this morning. The Mavericks, trailing by 15 points with 5 minutes left in the game, finish the game with an unbelievable 17-2 run to send it to overtime. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that the Mavs never lead during regulation. They trailed, often by double-digits, throughout the entire game.
Did the Thunder choke or did the Mavs grab this game by the throat and win it? My guess, a little bit of both. The Mavs had to execute, play good defense (what a great block by Marion at the buzzer), and hit some big shots. Once again Dirk Nowitzki came up big when it was crunch time, scoring 12 of his 40 points down the stretch. But the Thunder looked lost from what I saw. They didn’t take good shots, their offense seemed like they forgot how to do what they do best.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd made big play after big play to seal the deal. The same team that never led during regulation never trailed in overtime. The Mavs simply were not going to let this game get away. Jason Kidd had another outstanding game as he scored 17 points, including a clutch three-pointer in the OT, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Kidd has 32 steals this postseason. No doubt he also sees this as his last chance to win a title and he is doing everything he can to make that happen.
Jason Terry added 20 points off the bench to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 steals. The Mavs defense, while having a hard time coming up with stops all game long, did end up forcing 25 turnovers, perhaps the most telling stat of the game. It looks like the young Thunder are overwhelmed by the moment. This was the kind of loss that can set a team back for more than just a game or series. The next game will be telling as to what the Thunder are made of.
The Mavs must win Game 5. They can use the rest to get ready for what looks like an epic Finals. No matter who wins in the East, the challenge will be difficult. An opportunity to rest those veteran legs would go a long way in giving the Mavs their best chance to win. It would be nice to see Jason Terry and Peja Stoyakovic regain their shooting touch. Terry has been scoring but his percentage has been underwhelming.
Here is hoping that the forecast will be clear skies here and no Thunder storms in Dallas (corny but I couldn’t help myself).