Carlisle not happy with treatment of Nowitzki
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knows what's coming when teams try to defend perpetual All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. It happened again Saturday night in the Thunder's 99-98 victory over the Mavs and Carlisle wasn't too pleased.
"They're going to grab and hold,'' Carlisle said. "To me, a typical example is the play before the first half ends. He's getting grabbed and held, and they call a foul on Dirk because he's just reacting to all the contact. You know, that turns into a possession for them and they hit a 3. It's a big momentum play.
"I've seen this for four years. People grab and hold him all the time. I mean, all the time. He shows incredible restraint in those areas. Oklahoma City is being physical.''
Nowitzki finished with six turnovers, with two coming in the final 90 seconds. He took the high road on the officiating, however.
"I always talk during the game a lot, but my style is never to complain after the game,'' Nowitzki said around 12:10 a.m. "And I won't do it now.
"Other teams are making one more play. We were right there. The game was right there for the taking. We needed to make one more play and we couldn't make it.''
Dallas forward Shawn Marion applied the defensive clamps on three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant, which included the game-deciding sequence when Durant's turnaround, high-arcing, 15-footer bounced off the front of the rim, off the backboard and in.
"It was great defense," Marion said quietly just before midnight inside the Mavs' locker room. "I don't think he could see the rim – there's no way he could see the rim. He just threw that (expletive) up there, got a nice little bounce and it went in."
The NBA's reigning three-time scoring champ, Durant finished with 25 points, but shot just 10-of-27 from the field and 1 for 6 from 3-point range.
"Coach drew it up for me to come off the screen and get it close to the baseline," Durant said. "We knew they were going to switch it off. I just didn't want to settle for the three, so I tried to take it closer and shoot a shot. It got enough arc on it to go in."
Dallas reserve center Ian Mahinmi played 22 minutes in Game 1, splitting time mostly with starter Brendan Haywood. For the Thunder, Serge Ibaka played 39 minutes, second-most to only to Durant.
Ibaka made quite an impression on Mahinmi.