Mavs coach Rick Carlisle boohoos the Thunder's treatment of Dirk Nowitzki
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who usually displays all the venom of a florist, does not laugh off comments this time.
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Nerves fray. Patience thins. It's early for the Thunder and Mavs to be sick of each other, only one game in. But remember they staged a heated Western Conference Finals last May, and Dallas' Jason Terry earlier this season referred to the Thunder as “little brother.”
The Thunder's in no mood to hear such talk, not after spending all this season as an NBA title contender, while the Mavs sleepwalked to the West's seventh seed.
Brooks declared the high ground when talking about Maverick Shawn Marion's tough defense on Kevin Durant.
“I give good defenders credit,” Brooks said. “Marion's one of the best defenders in this league for a long time. You have to give him credit.”
Brooks recalled the foul shots from the 2011 playoff series. Nowitzki shot 61 in five games; that's 12.2 per game, exactly double what he averaged in the regular season.
“Dirk had an amazing series last year,” Brooks said. “He had a series that probably not too many players in the league's history can say they've had. Every game, he was making tough shots, drawing fouls, getting to the line.
“That's who he is. That's who they are. They're a good team. We're a good team. We're going to fight each other and going to try to win the series the way we know how to play.”
Take that, Rick Carlisle.
“I roomed with him,” Brooks said while walking away. “I know who he is.”
That's the problem. These teams know each other well. Too well, it would seem.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
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