What the Oklahoma City Thunder saidand the
after Game 3.
Coach Rick Carlisle
(On the Mavs) "We were much better tonight defensively and you know, we had to be. The first two games were poor. We were fortunate to win that first game. But tonight, I mean, we played championship-level defense for the first time in the series and now the challenge is to sustain."
(On Jason Kidd) "He does so many things that can not be quantified on the stats sheet. Just from having a calming influence when a team is making, a knack for hitting big shots and finding the window to deliver the ball at the right time to the right guy. And defensively, he did a great job the whole game of communicating to everybody what was going on, because our coverages were good. But we did change things a lot on the fly, and he's a guy that's directing traffic out there for us."
(On defending Durant) "Durant is a guy you game-plan for in your sleep because he's so great. I mean, he is great. I've never seen a guy 6-10, 6-11 that can do the things that he can do on the floor with the basketball, putting the basketball in the hole and the efficiency with which he does it. I mean, it's unprecedented, really. And so the first two games, we were allowing him too much space."
(On the Mavs Defense) "I know what we’re capable of because the first ten games of the playoffs we saw it. When you come up against a very different kind of opponent you can get seduced a little bit into a different style of play, and you can get a little bit seduced out of what’s made you successful. I believe that happened to us in the first couple of games. But then you get hit in the face at home. It’s sobering for everybody. So we refocused, guys recommitted to the defensive end."
(On OKC) "This is as hard a team to guard as there is in basketball because they’re great at putting constant pressure on you off the dribble, off screens, in transition .... so many different ways."
(On Dirk) "He's our guy. In the fourth quarters, he's going to touch the ball as frequently as we can get it to him. If he misses a few shots, he's not going to get deterred, he's not going to get discouraged. He's got the kind of will, he's going to keep going at it."
(On the Thunder Defense on Dirk) "Well, they're making a great effort on him. Now, I don't know in terms of legal limits, I believe the line may be crossed at times. And if so, the league will see that."
(On Nick Collison) "He has done a good job on Nowitzki. Collison is extremely underrated as a player. I mean, he's so important for them, and he does so many things at both ends of the court. I watched him during the whole Memphis series. And the job he did on Zach Randolph, when they really needed to guard him, Collison guarded him one-on-one. It's phenomenal. You're talking about a guy that's one of the best post defenders, really, in basketball. He's proven than in three playoff series now."
(On the key) "Nowitzki and Terry both made some key plays for us and the key was we were able to get enough stops."
(On his Offense) "Well, first half, I didn't really need much. Guys were great. We had our offense going from our defense, and then there in the second half I probably tried to force some stuff and then should have just moved the ball on some occasions. And then in the fourth quarter, I just found a little air space on a couple of pullups. I think that was the way to go. I obviously didn't get a lot of whistles going to the basket so I had to go with the one or two dribbles and up. And that created some separation."
(On the Game) "JET and myself were off, so I guess we’ll take the win, if our top two shooters and top guns are off like that and we still won the game. That’s a tribute to our defense. To hold a very good offensive team to 36 percent shooting at home really won us the game. Our defense kept being solid and won us the game."
(On the 2nd half) "We fought through a lot in the second half there, we stuck together and we grinded it out. We didn't really have a lot going in the second half offensively, so I’ve got to keep attacking for this team, like I have for the last, whatever, 13 years. This team needs me to score and keep being aggressive. My teammates obviously support me and find me in good positions where I can make plays. I’ve got to keep coming. I’ve got to keep being aggressive for this team. That’s what I tried to do in the fourth quarter."
(On the Matrix) "I thought Shawn Marion was great today on both ends of the floor and he gets a lot of credit."
(On Defense) "Great defensive effort, I think, early on. ‘Trix really taking the challenge. I thought Stevenson was great early, and that really set our offense up in the first half."
(On the Series) "We’ve gotta be even sharper in Game 4. We’ve just got to come out with the same intensity and focus on the defensive end, and I think that’s gonna help us in Game 4."
(On the Win) "In a game like this in someone else's arena, coming off a loss, you have to come out with anger and an intensity. We did that."
(On being old) "Veteran leadership, from all that we've been through, guys realizing that this opportunity doesn't come often, and the opportunity for us is now. We are mentally tough from all we went through, learning from all those experiences and knowing that we've seen almost every situation out there. Going through that and getting where we are today, we realize we're a tougher team."
(On OKC nearly coming back) "No lead is safe with this team, they have shown it time and time again, in the playoffs, in the regular season, they have so much firepower, that if you do get up, they're going to continue to fight. Hey look, we didn't make shots. You know, i pride myself in that category, i didn't get it done for us tonight, that allowed them to get back into the game. Some of them, i'll look at [film], but again defensively is what gets it done. When your shot's not going in, to be able to play defense the way we did tonight says a lot about our team.
(On the Threes of OKC) "They had several opportunities and it didn't fall. It happens like that in basketball. Good thing we had the lead to hold them off."
(On Dirk's 4th Quarter) "The big boy wasn't going to let this one go."
(On Defense) "Westbrook had 30 and Durant had 24, so I don’t know how good of a defensive scheme we had, but the big thing is team defense. We’ve gotta make it tough."
(On the Game) "Guys stepped up. Everybody is gonna look at Dirk and everybody expects superhuman things every time he’s on the floor, but he’s human. He and JET had a bad night, but we kept playing as a team and, again, we’ve always won and lost as a team. Hopefully those two guys will have a better outing come Monday."
(On nearly losing the 23 Point Lead) "We're an old team, so if we didn't have any experiences to draw on right now then we'd be in trouble. It's about just understanding the situation, we're not thinking ahead. We're thinking about the moment right now. Again, basketball is about runs, 6-0 run, 10-0 run, and you just try to minimize that. For a defensive team, you try not to let them get off a 10-nothing run. And they made a run at us, but nobody panicked. The guys that needed to touch the ball touched the ball and they made plays. We understand that we have given up leads and we’ve lost games, and this was just another we could draw back from. I don’t think guys brought [Game 4 in Portland] up, but just understood we’ve got to finish this the right way."
(What's up?) "We came out and did what we needed to do. We started being really aggressive on both ends of the floor. We took them on in anything and everything we wanted to do on both ends of the floor. … We wanted to make sure that they felt our presence out there. Every time they got a shot, somebody was in their face. That's the defense we've been playing all playoffs. We came out and were aggressive on both ends of the floor and that’s it."
(On him being agressive after being critizied in film sessions prior) "That’s what it takes. It is what it is. I’m a competitor."
(On not getting two quick ones this time around) "Those first two [early] fouls have been fucking me up in the first quarter. I’m keeping it real. I can’t be the aggressor on either end of the court if I’m coming out after five minutes with two [expletive] fouls. What am I going to do? Now I’m tentative, trying not to pick up the third and can’t be the aggressor I want to be. Tonight, I was able to do that."
(On Marion's mood) "We’ve got to have him pissed. We’ve got to have him slashing all over the place and being aggressive. We don’t want the happy Trix. I like the angry Marion. He can be pissed off at all of us if he gives us the results."
(On the reason for that mood) "He took some criticism, and he’s man enough to get out there and accept it the way he did. He didn’t tuck his tail between his legs and go hide. He stood up like a man and went out there and gave us a great effort tonight."
(On what lacked in the two games prior) "It was embarrassing watching the tape and not even just Game 2 from a loss, Game 1 as well. We didn't play with the type of sense of urgency that you need to play with when you're in this situation. You can blame it on the long layover or whatever. But we're here and we need to play accordingly."
(On Dirk's game first 3 quarters vs last quarter) "He was frustrated, because he's used to having a certain level of success. But you've got to give it up to him. They played to Dirk's tendencies, but great players make adjustments."
(On what the Mavs worked on after Game2) "We worked on everything — stance, getting up on the ball, bothering them, helping each other out. I even wrote it down somewhere."
Coach Scott Brooks
(On thinking about starting Harden) "There probably will be some long and hard thoughts about him being a starter. He definitely has that ability. This year, no."
(On the 1st Quarter) "There's no question they started the game really hitting us and knocking us out of our offense. And we missed a lot of 3s. Those 3s weren't
all contested. That start was tough to overcome, but I give our guys a lot of credit. They came back and made it a game in the fourth quarter."
(On the Mavs) "They were very physical, really pushing us off of our spots and trapping the basketball. They did a great job. We were on our heels and also, we missed some shots. The combination of those two things led to a bad start offensively, I think we were down, what, 17 points in that first quarter? That’s tough to overcome against a
very good team in the playoffs."
(More on Threes) "Russell’s 3, that might have been an opportunity for him to attack. He was in attack mode and he had brought us back. DC [Cook]’s threes, he was wide open. That’s what we have him in there for. I could not have complained about those shots."
(On 1-for-17 from 3-point range) "That’s not good. We’ve got to get better. We know that. They did a good job of getting us out of our offense."
(On adjustments to the slow starts) "I don't know. We've got to think. We've got to work. We've got to get better."
(On Kidd) "Jason, as you all know from the last 17 or 18 years he's been in this league, gives you everything he has. He's what you want out of a professional athlete, did everything on the floor for his team. Nothing he does surprises me, other than playing the way he's playing at his age. I mean, I couldn't do it when I was 30, play good basketball. He's doing it late in his 30s. Give him a lot of credit. He keeps his body and mind in shape, he's a well conditioned athlete and plays hard every night. He battles and competes against whoever he has in front of him and that's what you want. He's a terrific player."
(On the Game) "Frustrating. It's tough to start a game, not make shots and you give teams easy baskets. That's like a backbreaker."
(On missing 8 Threes) "I can’t come into a game and pass up wide open shots."
(On missing 13 Threes in 2 Games) "It's not like me to miss 13 3s in a row. I get them up every day. It is just a matter of me being confident. I can't come into the game and pass up on wide-open shots. I got three or four wide-open 3s tonight that looked good, but just didn't fall. But I've got to stay confident, stay positive. I know my teammates are going to pick me up and encourage me every time I step on that floor, so I am in good hands. I feel good."
(On Dallas Defense) "They just made it tough on us, man."
(On the Series) "We have to take care of home floor next game and then we’ve got to go back on the road. We’ve won there before, so we’ve got to come back and bring a different mindset. We know it’s going to be tough. The rest of the series is going to be tough. But if it was easy, everybody would do it."
(On Dirk in the 4th) "It's tough. You're down 20 most of the game and you finally cut it down and then they hit a shot that hurts your heart. They did that numerous times."
(On his 4th) "Just trying to attack. Just trying to stay in attack mode and trying find us a way to get the clock stopped or get to the line."
(On the Series) "We have one more game at home, which we definitely need to take care of. We need to come out and play the same way defensively and try to get a win."
(On the Edge) "They came out and had a lot more energy than we did. They had more of an edge. I think they were the hungrier team."
(On the deficit) "It's really tough to come back from 20 down. You're going to make a run and eventually they're going to make some plays. You need to be almost perfect at that point when you get that big of a hole."
(On the start) "We just need to find a way to be more locked in when the game starts. Once the ball's in the air, we can't ease into the game. I don't know why we do that. We have to be much sharper when the ball is thrown up. That's what they were tonight. They took it to us."
(On the Loss) "Tonight, we didn't trust each other. We just got to have trust in each other. That's the bottom line. When we get down, I don't like our body language. We got to do a better job of holding our heads up and continuing to keep pushing."
(On Kidd) "Jason Kidd ran their team. Every time they got down or something, he made a big play or a great pass."
(On the Mavs) "I know one thing. They're a veteran team. Their window is short. I knew what kind of team we were facing tonight. We were going to get a veteran team with their eye on the prize. You can't take no possessions off. They were more physical at every position, I tell you that. Including myself. We let our offense dictate our defense. We all just came in offensive-minded. Didn't think about getting stops. They got whatever they wanted."
Kidd Sideline + Carlisle, Dirk Podium
Marion, Haywood, Terry, Chandler
Terry & Abe
MMB | Hammcap: Slowly roll
Dallas overcame it though. The resilience that the Mavericks showed after getting shaken by the home team is typical of what fans of the team have seen during these playoffs.
Welcome to Loud City Best to look away
The narrative would have been so simple. The Dallas Mavericks came out with a great game plan in place, worked the ball efficiently, relied on Jason Kidd's offensive initiative, and drowned the Thunder before they knew what had hit them. Then Dallas expanded the lead, weathered a few storms, and held a comfortable 16 point lead at the half. Meanwhile, OKC continued to play as if their shoes were tied together, missed easy shots, missed open shots, made bad passes, committed silly turnovers, and looked like a lottery team.
Could we have not just left it there?
Well, we couldn't, because 1) this is the NBA, and huge point swings are always possible; and 2) this is the Thunder. It is against their nature to pack it in.
So we as the fans get caught in that self-defeating middle - we knew that the Thunder would probably lose, but they kept it so tantalizingly close that we held out hope. As they say, hope is a dangerous thing, because it possesses the ability to set us up for failure, and then we're both disappointed and ticked off at ourselves for holding out such hope.
NBA.com Mavs conduct School
They call this Saturday School in education circles.
ESPN Dime Range, Lineup, Shooting
It is bound to be remembered as the worst game of the playoffs for the standout player of this postseason. But that's the surface interpretation.
Behind the numbers?
Once he dragged himself past the clanked 3s and the career-high seven turnovers and the most suffocating team scheme he's seen in this run to the Western Conference finals, Dirk Nowitzki dug out a fourth quarter that was still pretty scrapbook-worthy.
Daily Thunder Horrific Start dooms Thunder
Nothing, and I mean nothing went Oklahoma City’s way. For a game as important as this one, disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe things.
There is no doubt the Thunder were finally allowed to play Dirk with a bit more physicality tonight. He only took ONE free throw and that came from a technical. Rick Carlisle tried to tread lightly talking about that but still had a comment: "I don’t know in terms of legal limits. I believe the line has been crossed at times." Collison was permitted to get away with a lot more, especially off the ball. But most of it truly was just great defense.
On the Harden flop: Everyone really freaked out on me on Twitter about it when I said if I couldn’t tell if it was a flop or not. Chandler definitely hit him in the face. Harden sold it more than he needed to though.
You know, this game was actually FASTER tempo-wise than the 106-100 game that preceded it. Yes, 93-87 (180 points) had more possessions than 106-100 (206 points). That's how much the defense improved. Plus, there was regression to the mean off previously high efficiencies too. And, OKC couldn't throw the ball in the ocean from behind the arc.
An advanced Boxscore at Arturo
The world didn’t end and I was totally stoked for this game. Then the NBA went and ruined it. I love the NBA. I’m also the guy who’s written extensively about Home Court Advantage.
Outside of a wrestling angle, I hate feeling the fix was in, but that’s what I felt tonight.
The NBA doesn’t seem to realize we all have DVR’s . I can rewind every single play and rewatch it in slow motion. If the calls are completely bogus it’s very easy to confirm. When that happens the league loses credibility.
In the end, the better team won (even if it felt like they were playing 8 on 5) and Nick Collison had won the immunity challenge.
Also, this (click picture for larger version):
SI.com Doing it with D
It didn't seem that Durant had any answers in that ubiquitous backpack of his, the one he brings to all of his postgame press conferences. "I was telling myself after the game ...," he began, then stopped himself, as though he was struggling to figure out what to say. "I get my shots up every day. I work on my shooting every day. It's just a matter of staying confident. I know my teammates will pick me up and keep me positive. I'm in good hands. I'm fine."
He's probably right. After all the ugliness of Game 3, both he and Nowitzki are likely to bounce back with much better performances on Tuesday night and elevate their teams with them. And that would be a beautiful thing.
Nope, not happening.
Basketballprospectus Bad Lineups
Dallas 93, at Oklahoma City 87 (Dallas leads 2-1)
Offensive Ratings: Dallas 104.3, Oklahoma City 98.7
There was a meme after Game Two of the Western Conference Finals that went something like this: By riding his second unit for the entire fourth quarter and winning, Scott Brooks had earned his stripes as a head coach with a difficult yet successful decision. In the wake of Thursday, I had the same thought. In Saturday's Game Three, however, Brooks' lineups loomed equally large in a negative sense as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Oklahoma City Arena to reclaim home-court advantage in the series.
Shawn Marion does deserve credit for containing Durant. That meant Dallas had to provide less help and allowed more defensive attention on other Oklahoma City players. Jason Terry also stepped up his defense on Harden, who got no good looks within the half-court offense. Both of Harden's buckets came in transition; otherwise he was 0-of-7 from the field.
Overall, this was the Mavericks' worst offensive outing since they blew a 23-point lead against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Four of their first-round series. Dallas bore little resemblance to the efficient outfit that boasts by far the league's most efficient playoff offense. Yet the Mavericks still claimed the upper hand in this series by virtue of taking advantage of the Thunder's ineffective lineups.
NBAPlaybook OKC Offense is offensive, boring, stagnant
Every time Oklahoma City loses (and sometimes when they win), the first thing that you need to look at is the Thunder’s offense, because more than likely, that is what is responsible for the loss. That was the case once again during game three of the Western Conference Finals, a game they loss due in large part to their inability to score (both early in the game and late).
In last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game, there weren’t that many bad calls in the first half. Dallas was running away with it, so maybe that had something to do with it.
But in the second half, the bad calls and wrong no-calls increased as the game got tighter as OKC made their comeback. Makes you wonder if a correlation is there. Hmmm….You can decide for yourself in the video below.
It has to be disappointing for the Thunder that they missed so many shots early and dug themselves such a huge hole in such an important game. As we look ahead to Game 4, getting off to a strong start is just one of the things they’ll need to concern themselves with.
Containing Nowitzki again will be a tall task, especially if Carlisle’s (relatively tame) comments about the way Collison is being allowed to play him end up affecting the officiating. Durant will need to regain his scoring touch, and OKC will need a large helping of the "good" Westbrook if the team is to counter the depth of Dallas and the way the Mavs execute beautifully on the offensive end of the floor.
"Tonight we played championship-level defense for the first time in the series," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after the game in an interview broadcast on NBA TV.
Maybe. But the Oklahoma City Thunder really helped them out with that — it’s a lot easier to cover a guy who is standing still. And the Thunder did a lot of standing around. On several trips down in a row in the second quarter Peja Stojakovic was on Kevin Durant, but the Thunder never exploited it as Durant stood still and called for the ball.
Anthony Morrow: yesterday
The Point Forward Something tells me
it's the Weekend. Probably not happenin' too soon.
Tyson Chandler completely out-Perkinsed Kendrick Perkins. Chandler finished with a game high 15 rebounds, and stated clearly that the paint belonged to him from the game’s outset. The physicality and nastiness that Chandler has brought to the Dallas back line is what Perkins was supposed to give Oklahoma City. Kind of makes you wonder what would have happened if the Chandler to Oklahoma City trade, of two years ago, hadn’t been voided because of his toe injury.
Dirk missed nil FT on his three attempts, 1 technical foul shot and 2 after an intentional foul to stop the clock in the last 30 seconds. Let's rephrase: After 34 FT-Attempts in the first two Games, Dirk Nowitzki did not get fouled all game (!) in Oklahoma City
besides a single deadball foul with 5:24 to go and a clockstopping foul after the game was decided.Respect, Mr. Collison.
Meanwhile, Durant&Westbrook combined for 25 FTA. The Mavs missed 4 total, as did the Thunder. Only OKC had a 36-12 Attempt Advantage with 35 Seconds left in the Game.
Chandler 8-15-1 Haywood 4-2-1 Mahinmi
Mavs 36, Thunder 27 That's dominant.
PIP-BoysOKC 42 DAL 42. DeaDevenBenchOKC 16 DAL 28 Quite low, though..
Break it FASTDAL 5 (off 14 Turnovers, lol) OKC 9 (off 12 To) Grind, Grind...The TEAM STATDAL 21 Assists OKC 11 Assists
Oh, do they now?
Disclaimer: If you couldn't tell by now, all italic sentences are made up thoughts, not actual quotes. Also,286 Pics...Getting defensive.
Finally....KneeJerk Recap (TM) Jonthefon v4.03
The Mavs (beat/
lost to) [Oklahoma City Thunder]¹ tonight ( thanks to/despite) totol reliance onDirk’s Awesomeness limited to the 4th Quarter. 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 Haywood DeShawn 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.