OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 30: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives on Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 30, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City led Dallas 57-50 at the half. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
In 2011, the closest Dirk Nowitzki ever came to appearing mortal was missing a three pointer to take the lead late in the fourth quarter of Game 5 during the Western Conference Finals last year. Fortunately, he got redemption just seconds later, as a rebound found its way out to him and he buried another triple for good.
This time, Dirk did not get a second chance. A chance to take a two-score lead with just over a minute left clanged off right, and so did the realistic possibility of the Mavericks winning the series.
Don't get me wrong: Dirk Nowitzki is incredible and his play was the reason the Mavericks were even in the game, instead of bowing out in the second quarter and letting the Thunder just roll over them as it appeared they might. But I'm sure every single person watching the game expected that three pointer to drop, because Dirk is immortal.
Tonight was a reminded that as phenomenal as Dirk is, he is, in fact, mortal.
- So like I mentioned above, I have to think that's it for the Mavericks. They'll get a game at home, but it's hard to see them recover from two emotionally draining losses like that, decided by a combined total of four points. I'm not counting them out just yet, because if any team can overcome adversity like this, it's a veteran team who still are the defending champions. These games certainly have shown that the Mavericks CAN beat the Thunder. But I don't have too much hope. Prove me wrong, damnit. I don't want basketball to over for quite a while.
- JET's foul on Durant late in the game with just 2.5 seconds left on the shot clock was hard to watch. I understand he was trying to go for the ball, but in that situation, there was no benefit. If he had successful tipped it and not fouled Durant, maybe a few tenths of a second run off the clock, but there is still time for a catch and shoot that Durant was attempting anyway. If no foul, Durant's shot had a degree of difficulty of 13 on a scale of 1 to 10. Instead, JET didn't get the tip and did get the foul and let OKC get the lead back, just like that.
- Start Mahinmi? So sick of Haywood. Yawn had an average stat line but an excellent game.
- Zone defense got lit up at bad times late in the game. I'd bet the stats on how well it worked look pretty good, but it was not timely defense.
- 5-23 from behind the line. This team is just not good at shooting threes. They won the title last year with their streaky shooting staying warm all playoffs, but there does not appear to even be a switch to flip it on this year.
- That Delonte dunk. Got me more pumped that anything in quite some time.
- The Mavs got a few chances to pull away a little in the third quarter while OKC was shooting horribly. Kidd missed a couple wide open jumpers by an inch and Vince also rimmed out a long two pointer. It's a shame those couldn't have dropped for the guys in blue.
After a long lockout of my own, I have finally come to terms with Twitter and agreed to begin using it. Follow me @tim_cato.