This feels like 2011. That's what kept running through my mind during Sunday night's dominant win against the Thunder. Sure, OKC was without two starters (well, three. But Kendrick Perkins doesn't count) but the Mavs were obliterating the Thunder in every sense.
There was that crisp ball movement, some hustling defense and an ability to withstand huge scoring binges from OKC. It feels like whenever the Mavs have a double digit lead this season, it's a matter of time before it's a close game again. But that wasn't the case tonight.
Even when Durant would grab a rebound and pop a quick three, Dallas stayed composed. They ran their stuff. They put the ball in their point guards' capable hands, worked through Dirk and role players, finished their open shots. It was beautiful basketball against a Thunder team that even without Russell Westbrook is still a matchup nightmare for the Mavs with Durant, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and the young legs they have off the bench.
Luckily, Scott Brooks has decided that Caron Butler and Derek Fisher are more important than those younger guys. Those two played 46 minutes of no defense, no energy and shot a combined 4-of-15.
But it was close early. Dallas kept hitting shots and challenged Ibaka and Durant and sort of let those other Thunder players get shots to knock down. They were going all out on surrounding Durant and Ibaka and took their chances on OKC's role players. That made a huge difference. Durant was great too! He scored 30 and hit four threes. But no one else on OKC did much.
And everyone on Dallas chipped in. Dirk had a quiet 17 but made 50 percent of his shots and two threes. He also made some good passes. Shawn Marion turned back the clock with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Marion's been an offensive no-show this season, and the Mavericks are a wildly different team when he's making shots, getting in the paint and somehow making three pointers.
Vince Carter carried the team in the third quarter and was a big part of pushing the lead into the 20s. He was 4-of-8 from three and a lot of those came within the offense.
It was just a spectacular win. Dallas defended and their bench was dominant. The Mavericks trio of Carter, Devin Harris and Brandan Wright are blowing the doors off other team's bench units. Especially when OKC's bench consisted of the aging Butler and Fisher.
Good win. Let's talk about how happy we are in the comments.