Monday, May 23, 2011

No Country For Old Men

Kevin Durant just hit a three. He got that three after Nick Collison got another effort offensive rebound which the Oklahoma City Thunder were doing great all night at doing. The Dallas Mavericks called a timeout, but with five minutes left, they were down 15 and we were headed to Dallas tied at 2.

The next possession, James Harden fouled Shawn Marion and that was the game for him. I don't think anyone knew that was also the game for the Thunder.

What took place was perhaps the defining games for the old men carrying the Mavs into this series and those old men (particularly Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Marion) carried the Mavs back in this game and ultimately into victory. It started with Dirk on offense, who matched and exceeded his remarkable play from Game 1 with killer shot after killer shot and made the two big free throws at the end of regulation.

However, it wouldn't be fair to give Dirk all the credit for this win. Kidd and Marion played defense like they did 5 years ago. Now, let's be fair on one thing, OKC didn't play offense well at all. They had no clue what they were doing. This allowed Kidd and Marion wreck havoc with effort plays. Both men had the key plays in the game; Marion blocks Durant's winning attempt at the end of regulation (Two points; first, that was one of the worst possessions ever in a game winning situation. Secondly, heads up by Kidd to call timeout to set up a last shot for the Mavs, even if it didn't go in) and Kidd's killer three with 40 seconds left in overtime. That whole sequence encapsulated this game from Dallas as Kidd and Marion force a turnover by Durant, ball finds Dirk who makes move after move on Nick Collison and instead of shooting, kicks out to Kidd, who nails the three. I mentioned Terry, while not having a big night, kept doing little things, like making a jumper in the OT as the Mavs offense stagnated, hustling to a loose ball, which Russell Westbrook stupidly played out of bounds and wasted 4 seconds before calmly sinking two free throws to ice the game.

The series moves back to Dallas and the Mavs are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006, which they blew a game just like this and it began to end the series for them. This year's playoff run has essentially been a final run of sorts for a Mavs team that is getting older in a league that's getting younger and younger. The Thunder are the embodiment of the direction the league is heading, yet the Mavs continue to grind out wins. And with Dirk playing basketball with an edge we only saw once (the 2006 playoffs until Game 2 of the Finals), the commitment to defense and the deepest team left in the playoffs, there's a good chance they can grind out the five wins necessary to win a title, final piece in the careers of the vets of the Dallas Mavericks.

No comments:

Post a Comment