The NBA rescinded another technical foul on Mavericks center Tyson Chandler after agreeing with Dallas' contention that Thunder reserve guard James Harden “embellished the contact” in Game 3 on Saturday night.
The league previously rescinded Chandler's technical foul that came 70 seconds into Game 1. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins also was assessed a technical on the play, which was upheld.
The NBA ruled Chandler's elbow to Harden's head was incidental and not unsportsmanlike. Chandler was attempting to take the ball out of bounds following Harden's layup in the third quarter.
Chandler raised his arms with the ball in his hands, and his right elbow grazed Harden's face. Harden fell the court and laid there for several seconds with his hands over his face. He did not require medical attention and remained in the game.
"It was not a vicious elbow," Chandler said. "I did not throw an elbow. I was trying to take the ball out of bounds. He tried to initiate contact and did a good job of flopping. He did a good job because he got me a technical, and he got his team a point for it."
Chandler said several Thunder players use the same tactic.
"That's the case with a lot of them," Chandler said. "They run into you, do little things. Whether you react or don't react, it seems that you kind of get caught up in the situation. It's our job just to stay away from it all. You come here to play basketball. You don't come here for the sideshow."
TOE THE LINE
The difference in the Game 4 came on the lines. At the free-throw line, Dallas outscored the Thunder 34-19. At the 3-point line, Dallas outscored the Thunder 24-6.
The Mavs had outscored OKC 15-0 from 3-point range before Kevin Durant hit a trey with 6:07 left in the third quarter, which snapped a string of 13 straight misses for the two-time scoring champion.
The Thunder finished just 2 for 13 from 3-point range, making it just 5 for 30 (.167) in the last two outings. For the series, Dallas is 33 for 96 (.344) from beyond the arc and the Thunder is 17 for 64 (.266).
*Taking a 31-22 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Thunder hit its first nine shots of the game, but then went 6 for 17 (.353). Durant hit his first five shots and finished 5 for 6. En route to trailing 27-12 in the first quarter of Game 3 on Saturday night, OKC shot 4 for 17 (.235) from the floor and Durant was 1 for 5. Durant finished 9 for 22 on Monday.
*With 5:11 left in the second period, point guard Russell Westbrook meandered his way through the lane off a set play drawn up during an OKC timeout and converted a layup to give the Thunder a 51-40 lead. On his way back down court, Westbrook immediately turned and pointed at coach Scott Brooks to signal "nice call" to the coach who benched him the entire fourth quarter of Game 2 in Dallas.
*The Mavericks outscored the Thunder 16-3 at the free-throw line in the first half. The Mavs attempted 19 from the line, while OKC attempted five. Dallas finished 34 for 39 (.872) and the Thunder was 19 for 25 (.760).
*Pop singer/pianist Greyson Chance, a 13-year-old from Edmond, sang the national anthem.
The Thunder leads all playoff teams in blocked shots at 7.5 per game and finished tied for second during the regular season at 5.9.
OKC entered Game 4 averaging 5.7 blocks against the Mavericks, who ranked second in the league in blocked shots allowed at 3.7 per game. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is the individual leader in the playoffs at 3.07 bpg but failed to block a shot against the Mavs in the first two games.
"Dallas does not take a lot of shots around the paint, but we've had opportunities where we did not get there (to block a shot)," Brooks said. "It's not just Serge, it's all the guys. Everybody has to chip in their one (block). Kevin has a chance to get two or three a game with his length, his quickness and his timing.
"Dallas does take a lot of jumps shots, and we understand that. It's more important to be a shot-contesting, more than a shot-blocking team against Dallas."
The Thunder blocked nine shots Monday with Ibaka leading the way with five.