All night, I couldn't help but think, "At least this one wasn't embarrassing!"
Instead, the Dallas Mavericks have pulled off an absolute stunner, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road 85-84, evening the Best of 7 series at 1-1.
It was really, really, really close to being something different. Two missed three throws from Raymond Felton set the stage for a full length drive and a Steven Adams putback layup that was called good on the floor. However, a replay overturned it, prompting the underdog Mavs to bolt off the court in celebration, before the shocked home Thunder crowd probably had even processes what just happened.
Frankly, I'm not sure I can process what just happened.
Prior to those two missed freebies, Ray Felton was having a spectacular crunch time performance, hitting several huge shots. He finished with a team high 21. On the other side, Kevin Durant hit a big three to cut a four-point lead to just one, but overall had perhaps the worst game I've ever seen him play against Dallas. He shot 7-33, and while some of those were wide open bricks, he was hounded by Wes Matthews a lot. Matthews also shot poorly, but as usual played his rear off.
Simply cobbling together enough healthy bodies in this one seemed like it would be a challenge for coach Rick Carlisle, let alone managing to pull out the victory. J.J. Barea joined Chandler Parsons and David Lee as scratches. Devin Harris gutted out a nice game with a bad left hand. Zaza Pachulia started but is clearly hampered by some kind of injury. Deron Williams -- who was listed as doubtful in the hours leading up to tip-off -- actually played a bit, and by "a bit" I mean until his body basically refused to cooperate any further. It was painful just watching him try to gut it out through a sports hernia, even early on when he was making shots in gusty fashion. D-Will finished with 13 and 5 in 26 minutes, and almost all that damage came in the first couple of minutes of the game. Before heading to the bench, Williams struggled to even get back on defense.
So, with Deron out for good, that meant it was Ray-Ray time.
I've been a critic of Felton at times(even today on twitter, no less), but six huge points in the last five minutes deserve all the praise we can muster, although the pair of missed free-throws nearly undid it all. Still, for Felton to be the crunch time scorer in a playoff series when we weren't even sure he'd ever see the floor back in training camp is just a phenomenal story.
We'd be remiss to not mention the pair of rookies, as well. Salah Mejri and Justin Anderson provided energy, hustle, and some of the only highlight quality plays Dallas could really boast. One expected Anderson in particular to see a larger role after the debacle that was Saturday night's game one. For Mejri, it was a rebound performance that tied him with Devin Harris for a team best +17 in plus/minus.
Sooooo Mavs fans...are you excited OR WHAT?! Sound off in the comments!