I'm really tempted to just write: "MAKE A DAMN SHOT IN THE FINAL TWO MINUTES," but I'll refrain and offer some more logical and rational moves the Mavs need to make to win tonight's Game 3 and crawl back into the series.
- Do something, anything to throw off Russell Westbrook
Right now, I'm not even sure if the Mavericks can really do anything with Westbrook at this point. He's taking good shots and blasting Dallas from outside the paint. If you told Rick Carlisle that Westbrook was going to take 27 shots from 10 feet or farther in Games 1 and 2 combined, he'd probably take that. But the Mavericks keep daring Westbrook to hit that elbow jumper and he's making them pay.
Carlisle talked yesterday about still wanting to make Westbrook take those shots, but make them more contested. That's a thin line to dance: trying to contest Westbrook's jumper while simultaneously trying not to get too close to anticipate his drive. I wouldn't be surprised if Carlisle trapped Westbrook at the halfcourt anytime the Thunder decide to run a pick and roll high up top.
- Some shot distribution
Dirk Nowitzki has still failed to take 20 shots in a game in this series, which isn't awful if the Mavericks are getting balanced scoring. Unfortunately the Mavericks are getting too many "high shot-low success" games in this series. Let's recap who has taken double-digit shot attempts other than Dirk in Games 1 and 2:
Game 1: Jason Terry (8-for-10), Shawn Marion (7-of-14) and Vince Carter (5-of-14).
Game 2: Jason Kidd (2-of-10), Delonte West (5-of-12) and Jason Terry (5-of-12).
Simply put, the Mavericks second fiddles on offense aren't giving much, other than Marion and Terry in Game 1. Dirk has been scoring well, but when the offense has stalled in the fourth quarter, there have been too many Vince Carter pull up threes, Jason Kidd pick and roll jumpers and Delonte West isolation midrange shots. Dallas needs to slow down, give the ball to Dirk and work from there.
- Crunch time turnovers
Too many turnovers down the stretch has cost the Mavericks with empty possessions in these close losses. So far, the overall turnover battle is an edge for Dallas, but just barely (30-28). Considering OKC was one of the worst teams in the NBA at turning the ball over, this needs to be a bigger advantage for the Mavs.
There are plenty more, but those are the big ones. If the Mavericks can fix at least two of those three and maintain in the others areas they've done well: Holding down Durant, keeping the Thunder off the three-point line and rebounding.
Gotta get it tonight.