What the Oklahoma City Thunder saidand the
after Game 2.
(pic-cadilly time comes to those who wait)
Coach Rick Carlisle
(On the Bench of OKC coming in and scoring repeatedly late in the 1st quarter being the turning point of the game) "I would agree with that. I thought it turned the game around in a big way."
(On the biggest problem) "The defensive end is what we've got to solve. Scoring 100 points in a playoff game should be enough to win. Not if you're giving up 106, 112. Give them credit. They played an attacking, desperate game. Their bench was dominant when they played. They kept coming. They did not get discouraged. "
(On adjustments) "Our substitution patterns, rotation, we're going to have to look at a little bit. You know, our zone was OK in the first game, and tonight it really struggled."
(On his Summary) "Sometimes you get your butt kicked. You've got to take it like a man. Hey, we've got to respond."
(On the Loss) "Usually of you’re a road team and you start in a tough building, usually you go for a split or try to win one, and that’s what they did."
(On the Thunder) "They came out to play, and I thought their bench really changed the game today. They attacked us there in the second quarter and Durant was even on the bench, and they made a run and took the lead in the second quarter."
(On the Difference in the 2nd half) "I didn’t think Durant made the difference in the second half. It was Maynor and Harden and their bench."
(On Lack of Defense) "If you would have told me they leave Westbrook out in the whole fourth quarter and we don’t get stops to win, that would have been tough. Harden made 23 points on nine shots. That’s a killer."
(On the Bench-battles) "I thought our bench was the better bench in Game 1, and their reserves really took that challenge today and they came out swinging and really took it to us, and we were never ready for their reserves today."
(On the 4th) "We just didn't have it, couldn't get the stops we needed. We're usually a great fourth-quarter team. We get stops; we go out and run and execute on the offensive end. But those couple of minutes right there where they went up eight or 10, that was the killer."
(On the Thunder Defenson on him) "Yeah, they tried to keep the ball out of my hands a little more. I thought Collison actually was trying to front me a little bit, and that's why in the fourth quarter I actually got a lot of my catches at the high post, because it's impossible to front there."
(On the Thunder) "Obviously they belong here. "And now they have the momentum. So, we’ve got to go up there in a tough environment and a very loud building and execute and play Mavs basketball and get back to getting stops like we did in the first two series, and I like our chances."
(On if the Thunder surprised the Mavs) "They surprised us because their shots were going in. But other than that, they made some tough ones. Give them credit."
(On the Thunder going small in the 4th) "We’ve got to punish that lineup. It’s good it happened like this. We’ll make our adjustments and bounce back."
(On the Benches) "It’s obvious, it’s really obvious, it’s evident that whichever bench is going to be able to make an impact on the game is going to have a better chance at winning. Tonight, give their bench a lot of credit."
(On his agression level in the game) "Nine shots. I don’t call that a very aggressive game on my part."
(On Dirk missing a FT) "I think we were all surprised. I mean it was there, it just came right back out. Again, at that point, everything has to go perfect. That cuts the lead to three and we have to get another stop. Didn't happen."
(On Cpt. Obvious) "We can’t allow their bench to have that kind of impact on us."
(On Cpt. Psychologic) "When you're afraid of a team or you feel like a team can beat you every single night, you go out there and you play with a certain type of edge. I feel like we came out here and we took these boys lightly. There's a reason why they're in the Western Conference finals. They're not a team to be taken lightly, so we've got to make our adjustments and come out and win Game 3."
(On Cpt. Defense) "When you have a seven-game win streak, you kind of forget what got you there. We started feeling good about ourselves. We've got to get back to what got us there."
(On the 4th) "It seemed like we had some good things happening in the fourth, but it seemed like we could never really get things going on both ends of the floor. Their bench really stepped up tonight and did a good job. Harden got really hot, and we did a pretty good job of containing everyone else, but their bench stepped up real big tonight."
(On the Game) "They outplayed us in every part of the game. They had more energy, their bench played better, they made more shots and they made some tough shots down the stretch, so give all the credit to them. I can’t remember the last time we lost the battle of the bench. It was going to happen at some point and it happened tonight and I give them a lot of credit. They were more aggressive and they made more big shots. Their bench just played better tonight."
(On Dirk's missed FT) "He had to miss at some point. He was rolling. It's all right. It happens.
Coach Scott Brooks
(On the Win) "I thought that was a heck of a win for us. This is not an easy place to play and get a road playoff win, but I thought our guys in the second half really locked in defensively and really did a great job of contesting shots and making them miss some shots."
(On Harden's development) "James has been improving ever since we drafted him. Assistant Coach Rex Kalamian does a great job of really challenging him to get better every day and we have a lot of confidence in James. I personally do, our staff does."
(On Harden's game) "He made plays. He made big basketball plays. James is not just a spot-up shooter. He is a penetrator. He is a playmaker and I thought he did it all tonight."
(On the 4th Quarter lineup) "I had that decision for the last six minutes or so," Brooks said. "But I thought the game was being played — we were increasing the lead. We were making shots. I didn’t want to mess with the rhythm. I usually will sub Westbrook in. Very rarely have I ever done that since Russell has been here. But it was a decision really — Eric was playing well. It had nothing to do with Russell. Eric was playing good basketball, solid basketball for us, and we were increasing the lead. The temptation was there when they cut it to six and when they trapped and we had to call a timeout, but I believe in all of our guys. Some guys get more minutes than others, but the minutes that they do, they have to play hard and they do. And I believe in what they do out there."
(On benching Westbrook) "I’ve done it a few times during the year. Doesn’t happen often, Russell is an incredible player, he’s our starting point guard, but we weren’t getting a lot of things done and his time was to come out then I stayed with Eric."
(On the bench) "Our bench has played good all year for us. I thought the 50 points that they gave us was the game. It was the game."
(On Collison) "Nick has a lot of heart. He plays with pure heart. He plays hard. He does everything for the team and I’m glad that he hit those free throws. Those were big, big free throws."
(On his team) "I told our guys before the game, playing perfect is impossible. But playing hard is possible."
(On defending Dirk) "I thought we did a good job of really getting into him and not allowing him to really lace it up and just shoot it over our head. We did a good job, but it's still not easy. The guy still had nearly 30 points, and I thought we played as well as we could possibly play."
(On defending Terry) "I thought the first game we gave him a lot of room. And when you do that with Jason, he burns you every time. He's a terrific player. He's like their sixth starter for their team, but I thought James most of the time did a great job chasing him off the screens."
(On the split) "We knew we had to get a road win, no question. If you want to advance, you have to win on this court. And we knew going into it, it’s not going to be easy. We gave everything we had. We chipped away last game, came up short, but I thought the guys played hard. That’s one of the things we do. We play hard."
(On why he got hit with a technical foul after his dunk) "All I said is, `And one."
(On the Benching of Westbrook) "We had a good start to the fourth quarter. You can't mess that chemistry up. Coach made a good decision by doing that."
(On why he was benched) "I think it was just the way game was going. Eric had our whole group going and had the five guys on the floor all in sync and playing as one. We had a good lead and with three or four minutes to go you can’t take those guys out. Russell understands that. He’s a perfect teammate. He was over there cheering everybody on, and from your leader, that’s what you’d like to see if he was on the bench."
(On Benchbattles) "Our bench has to be as good as theirs or better. Tonight was a perfect case of that."
(On the Series) "It should be fun back at our place."
(On making happy faces when benched) "As long as we’re winning, I’m good. We were winning. I know you all want to ask the same question and I’m going to give you all the same answer: We were winning."
(On the Win) "This is big. We got a win on the road in the Western Conference finals. It’s very important and I think as a team we did a good job of staying together."
(On his own performance through three quarters) "It was fine. I’m not really worried about what I’m doing. I’m just trying to guard and win. That’s what our main objective is and that’s what it’s all about."
(On 4th quarter substitutions) "I’m not really out there thinking about it. When I get called I’m going to go out there and play and whenever he takes me out I’m going to go to the bench and cheer for my teammates. Tonight I did my job."
(On the Bench) "We came in and we did our job. We defended and we made plays on offense, stuff we did all year. We just did it for an extended period, tonight. I didn’t think about coming out. I never looked over there for a sub."
(On what he did) "Just playin'. Just playin'."
(On his game) "It was just moving the ball, making the passes and taking advantage of the opportunities when they came around."
(On the Bench) "It was tremendous. Eric made some great plays. Daequan made some big shots. Kevin did what he did. Nick played some great defense. I just tried to find my spots and make shots as well."
(On the Bench stepping up) "That's what this team does. That's what this team is about. Everybody knows that we have two of the best young players in the game in Kevin and Russell. What they miss sometimes are the other guys."
(On Westbrook) "One thing about Russ is that he always bounces back. Him not playing in the fourth quarter, I'm sure he'll use that as more of a motivation thing. It'll just be scary to see him come out after tonight."
(On defending Dirk in Game 2) "I think we did a better job of making his catches a little tougher. We didn't use our hands as much. We wanted to challenge his shots and hope he missed them."
reaching in getting a crucial turnover on Dirk) "I didn't hit the ball very hard. I just got a hand on it and he lost it. It wasn't a play where I was attacking the ball, I just got a finger on it and he dropped it."
(On the Bench of the Thunder) "We've got 10 guys that can play. We don't lose confidence when other guys are in the game."
I appreciate this shot selection
MMB | Rottcap
If you ask me, I'd tell you that the Thunder beat the Mavericks at their own game tonight. They had huge production from their bench, namely 23 points by James Harden, and 13 points by Eric Maynor. On the other hand, Barea was the high scorer off the Mavs' bench with 11. The Thunder shot 56% while Dallas only shot 44%. While the Mavericks had more three-point baskets (9) than the Thunder (7), it took OKC nine fewer shots to get there. Their efficiency exposed the lack of defense from the Mavericks, and this will need to be remedied before Saturday if the Mavericks hope to steal a game back on the road.
Welcome to Loud City Recap
Pretty short, though.
NBA.com Harden front and Center
So in a game where the Thunder needed something to stand on to begin making a statement in the Western Conference finals, it was Harden who provided the support.
He ran, he scored, he attacked the basket on drives, he pulled up to stick in jumpers.
ESPN Dime Bench ties
Ten minutes into this game, it looked like a repeat of Game 1. The Dallas Mavericks were hitting 3-pointers, finding cutters and basically scoring at will while rampaging to an 11-point lead, including an uncontested dunk off a dead ball when the Oklahoma City Thunder failed to run back on defense.
At that point it seemed inconceivable Dallas would lose. The Mavs already had four dunks and two layups and were shooting 50 percent with no turnovers. Their vaunted bench hadn't even taken the floor yet.
And then the bench came in, and everything changed.
Daily Thunder Thunder Bench
Again, the real story is how well the Thunder bench performed. James Harden was completely lights out (23 points on 6-9 shooting, seven rebounds, four assists). Eric Mayor, terrific (13 points, zero turnovers). Nick Collison was downright heroic on Dirk. Daequan Cook hit a couple massive 3s. Look at the Thunder bench: +5, +10, +18, +11, +14. The bench went 9-11 in the fourth quarter for 23 of the Thunder’s 29 points. In the second quarter, the bench scored on 10 consecutive possessions. They scored a total 50 points. Now that’s a story.
From 3-23 Ft: DAL 11-28, OKC 20-38 (!!)
OKLAHOMA CITY 106, DALLAS 100
2-point pct: OKC 62%, Dallas 49%
3-pointers: OKC 7/18, Dallas 9/27
1's and 2's: OKC 85, Dallas 73
We talked about the issues Dallas was having with two-point defense in prior rounds. Clearly they haven't yet figured out what they can take away in this series. Oklahoma City is dynamic in all facets of play. Dallas isn't slowing down any of those facets.
An advanced Boxscore at Arturo
Harden was a one man wrecking crew tonight and the Thunder needed him as Durant and Westbrook played like true T-wolves (not named Kevin Love of course). Kidd was good, JJ was great on one end but got murderized on the other like he was driving on Bynum . Dirk and Chandler also showed but it was not quite enough to overcome James Harden’s magnificent playoff beard.
Oh, and Westbrook may have played his way to the bench.
So now we have two great series full of uncertainty.
Everybody wins the sequel.
SI.com All the right moves
Nowitzki still got his -- 29 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter -- but he worked for each bucket. He had just seven attempts through three quarters, a shockingly low number considering the German's effectiveness in Game 1. He saw a steady diet of forearms and hip checks from Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins and with the game on the line had Collison crawling up his shirt. But even as Nowitzki found a rhythm in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks couldn't slow Oklahoma City's.
The real story here, as All-Star Oklahoma Thunder guard Russell Westbrook sat for the entire fourth quarter, is that for small one-possession stretches Dallas' defense was no good when it needed to be, and its offense was lacking when it needed to be. And that Oklahoma City won, and took the homecourt advantage in the victory.
Also, that this was a superbly well-played game by both sides that was decided by only six points, and two possessions. Oklahoma City made more tough shots. They had the lead when the clock was about to run out, so Dallas had to start fouling intentionally. Then they had the lead, earned with tough and smart play, when the clock went out. There's your story, well-dressed man.
Oklahoma City 106, at Dallas 100 (Series tied 1-1)
Offensive Ratings: Oklahoma City 126.3, Dallas 117.6
During the fourth quarter of a game in the Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder's starting lineup combined for six points. Usually, that would seem to indicate an offensive disaster of Bulls-Heat proportions, but not so this time. The four Thunder reserves who played virtually the entire final period carried Oklahoma City to a series-tying win over the Dallas Mavericks.
NBAPlaybook The Play that got Westbrook benched....wasn't me
As I mentioned above, based on Chris Boussard’s report, it appears that Brooks blamed Westbrook for the mishap, when it was actually Sefolosha’s fault. There is a good chance that without the benefit of replay, Brooks assumed that this was his fault until he got back into the locker room and watched the tape, leading to Brooks keeping Westbrook on the bench (Westbrook’s response to Brooks’ comment probably played a factor as well).
Every time the Thunder play, it seems we hear the same thing over and over when it comes to Russell Westbrook. He’s selfish, he’s not a true point guard, he can’t get his teammates involved, but this isn’t really the case. While there are some plays where Westbrook gets a little isolation/shot happy, we also have to look at Westbrook’s teammates when he turns the ball over, because they are young too, and they will make mistakes as well.
Refcalls Add it up
We reviewed lots of calls (15, our most to date!) from last night’s Oklahoma City-Dallas game (game 2 of the series), and it kept us pretty busy as you’ll see in the video below. Overall, it was much better officiated than Game 1 that “starred” ref Joe Crawford, but there were still enough calls in this game that were pretty questionable.
The lack of defense from Dallas is nothing new — as dominant as Nowitzki was in Game 1, OKC was within reasonable reach in the final minutes, and let’s not forget, Durant finished that game with 40. If the Mavs are to take command of this series, it will be as a result of their supreme execution on the offensive end of the floor.
Russell Westbrook was emotional, he was hot when taken out in the third quarter. He was yelling and we’re guessing they were words on George Carlin’s list. He was hot enough that assistant coach Mo Cheeks had to come down the bench and calm him down. He stayed out of team huddles. Then Westbrook sat the entire fourth quarter.
And none of that matters. Not if the Thunder are about winning. Not if Westbrook is mature. The question isn’t why it happened, because it has happened to a lot of guards.
The question that matters is does it bother Westbrook going forward?
The Point Forward That Presti...
The focus of Oklahoma City’s monster Game 2 win last night will obviously be on Scott Brooks’ decision to bench Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter and ride Eric Maynor, Daequan Cook and a small lineup. And that’s a legitimate story. But the fourth-quarter was also a convergence of several of the small cap-related moves Presti made to build around the fringes.
This one’s on the defense. Terry and J.J. Barea had particular trouble containing the dribble penetration of Eric Maynor and James Harden, but Dallas’ trouble containing aggressive drives goes well beyond those players. When the Mavs defend, they’re the superior team in this series. If Dallas plays defense like they have in the first two games of this series, then every contest in these Western Conference Finals will be a shootout — or worse. Dallas can still win under those circumstances, but why lean so heavily on the offense when given the choice to diversify? Why allow Oklahoma City to post an effective field goal percentage of 60.7 when this defense is clearly capable of being much more limiting?
Dirk missed 1 FT. So did Tyson and Shawn.
Chandler 13-15-0 Haywood 2-1-1 Mahinmi
DNP-Playoffs/Frenchgot outproduced by Nazr Mohammed in similar Minute(s)
Mavs 35, Thunder 39 Simple Math..
PIP-BoysOKC 38 DAL 40. Unusual. Fastbreakpoint 13-10 in Dallas Favor, also. So, the Reasons don't lie here. Look elsewhere.BenchOKC 50 DAL 29 = Game.
Disclaimer: If you couldn't tell by now, all italic sentences are made up thoughts, not actual quotes. Also, 331 Pics. Crazy, man. Y'all hilarious!
Finally....KneeJerk Recap (TM) Jonthefon v4.02
The Mavs (
beat/lost to) [Oklahoma City Thunder]¹ tonight ( thanks to/despite) totol reliance onDirk’s Awesomeness. The ( cloud in the silver lining/major culprit) once more as usualwas the (reliabilty/ lack) of support from his team-mates, with the exception of Jason Kidd/ Tyson Chandler/ ². Especiallyuseless was Jason Terry/Jose Barea/ Brendan HaywoodDeShawn Stevenson Shawn Marion³ and it is (GUESS WHAT) THEY’RE ALMOSTNOT ALLUSELESS!
¹ Inserted Opponent
² Only one of them, mind you. FT-misser.
³ Two at the minimum, up to all
six seven of them.