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For the Thunder and its fans, this is no time to panic

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 18, 2011

They were down only five points with a little under four minutes left in the game, and when a Shawn Marion shot hung on the rim, you thought things were about to get really interesting.

But when the shot eventually fell off the cylinder, Marion was there to tip it back in.

“We played well offensively,” Brooks said. “We can't complain about 112 points on the board, but defensively, we have to get better.”

Here's guessing the Thunder will not only throw a few wrinkles at Nowitzki but also do a better job on role players like J.J. Barea. For starters, Nate Robinson won't be guarding him or anyone else again.

The Thunder was far from perfect on this opening night of the series, and yet, it kept this game competitive until the final minutes. That fact wasn't lost on Rick Carlisle.

“Look, we're going to have to play better,” the Dallas coach said. “Westbrook had a very, very subpar game for him. I thought we did some good things against him, but I also thought he just had an off game.

“We had a lot of loose possessions out there at both ends that we're going to have to clean up.”

Remember, Thunder fans, your team lost the opening game in the last round, too. A bunch of you thought that series was over, and look how that turned out.

Losing a playoff game at home, by the way, is much worse than losing on the road.

Remember, too, that the Mavs have been known to play good for stretches, then fall to pieces.

See, Dallas circa 2006.

That team was a quarter from a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, and it ended up losing the series in six games. That series wasn't over after one game.

This one isn't either.

“It's a long series,” Durant said. “We've got to keep pushing.”

He isn't talking about the panic button, Thunder fans.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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