In Game 4 at Portland in the opening round of the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks led by 23 with 1:15 left in the third quarter before the Trail Blazers stormed back thanks to 18 fourth-quarter points from Brandon Roy to win 84-82 and tie the series at 2.
In Game 3 on Saturday night inside Oklahoma City Arena, the Mavs led by 23 in the second quarter and saw the Oklahoma City Thunder cut the lead to four in the final minute before Dallas prevailed 93-87 to take 2-1 series lead.
Several Mavs said before Sunday's practice what happened against Portland was beneficial in holding off the Thunder.
"We didn't panic," said future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, who had 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals. "We stayed the course. We knew they were going to make a run. Basketball is all about runs and who can have the biggest or make the last run."
COLLARED BY COLLISON
Dirk Nowitzki had seven turnovers and shot 7 for 21 from the field in Game 3 and primarily was guarded by Nick Collison, who played 24 minutes.
"Oh, man. I did everything," Nowitzki said. "Sometimes I got caught in the air, threw the ball away. Sometimes they reached in, I dribbled off my feet. Stuff happens, I guess, when you're trying to make plays a little too much. Obviously, they were physical. Somebody else would come in, try to force things a little. I just have to look at the film, see what they're doing and act accordingly (in Game 4 on Monday at 8 p.m.)."
Asked what Collison did defensively, Nowitzki said: "Just being physical. You saw how he plays. It's nothing new for the last couple years. He battled Z-Bo (Memphis power forward Zach Randolph) great in the last round. Z-Bo is probably the best low-post scorer we have in the game right now, and he battled him. He's a smart and good defender, hard-nosed. He plays hard."
KIDD VS. KIDS
Despite frequently going against 22-year-olds in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the 38-year-old Kidd has more than held his own defensively.
"I'm just trying to make it tough on these guys … They can all score. Just make it tough and contest," Kidd said of facing the Thunder. "Again, I've been in the league long enough. I've been scored on. It's not like if they score it's something new. You don't let that affect you. You just keep playing."
Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. What's the biggest difference between leading the Nets and Mavericks?
"I had to do a lot in the Finals – score, pass, defend," Kidd said. "Here, it's kind of been shortened in that I have to defend and find the open guy because I have so many guys around me who can put the ball in the basket."
Kidd, on how his offensive numbers can look modest despite his significant contributions: "I've never been a big numbers guy. You can fudge numbers to look as good or as bad as you want. So for me, it's to help my teammates out defensively and offensively by communicating with them, telling them what I see to try and make the game as easy as possible for them."