What could be more fitting?
But then the Mavs drew a couple fouls — both on James Harden that sent the Thunder reserve to the bench with six fouls — and scored points with the clock stopped.
That started a 7-0 run that ignited the Mavs and burned the Thunder.
“I believe that was all about getting stops,” Carlisle said. “Every guy that was in there during that period made big plays. Big offensive plays. Big extra pass plays.
“They keep believing.”
Now, it's the Thunder's turn to keep the faith. If it doesn't win Wednesday in Dallas, this team has played its last game in Oklahoma City for this season.
“It's such a blessing to have great fans because they could've easily just walked out on us,” Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said. “They stuck with us when they were on their way back. They didn't boo or anything.”
But when all was said and done, the arena fell into a stunned silence, save the Mavericks fans who infiltrated the Thunder crowd.
“This is a fantastic place to play a playoff game,” Carlisle said. “The level of enthusiasm and noise ... these fans are beyond belief.”
But the Mavs feel plenty comfortable going against the Thunder faithful.
Too comfortable for Oklahoma City's liking.