NBA's Western Conference Finals begins shift in Oklahoma City-Dallas relationship

BY BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writer, btramel@opubco.com Published: May 16, 2011

“I have to admit, I've turned into a Mavs fan, true and blue,” said Gary Nelson, the 1976 Ada High School quarterback, who has lived in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton since 1983. “We went to games when they were 9-62, when they had their lean years. And it's been a really fun run watching this transition.”

For a decade, the Mavericks have been an NBA power, winning at least 50 games for 11 straight years. Now the Thunder has joined the Mavs as an NBA contender, and Dallas faces the uneasy prospect of its championship hopes being wrecked by its little-brother city.

“I think it'll be great for the fans,” said the Thunder's Nick Collison. “It's a short drive. I'm sure there will be a lot of OKC fans trying to get in the building in Dallas, and vice versa. But both places have pretty good home crowds. There might not be many seats available for people. It's going to be fun for sure.”

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