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OKC Thunder: Kendrick Perkins and Dirk Nowitzki exchange 'pleasantries'

Teams' big men tangle early in the game, both assessed double technical fouls
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 1, 2012

A war of words escalated to a brief war on the floor between the Thunder and Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki.

After Game 1 on Saturday night, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle mentioned the physical play of opponents while defending Nowitzki.

On Sunday, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said complaining about the officiating is something Carlisle frequently has done. “Just go back to your quotes in 2011. He said the same thing then,” Brooks said of the Thunder's playoff series against Dallas last year.

Early Monday afternoon, Carlisle insisted he is not posturing for more calls from game officials.

Then with 5:04 left in the first quarter of Game 2 on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, there was an altercation between Nowitzki and Thunder center Kendrick Perkins following a 3-point basket by Kevin Durant.

Nowitzki and Perkins exchanged expletives while being separated by teammates.

Carlisle stormed onto the court, pointing and shouting at Perkins and the officiating crew. At one point, Perkins swatted Carlisle's hand away.

Perkins was assessed a loose-ball foul. Perkins and Nowitzki were given double-technicals for shoving each other.

The fuse actually was lit at the 6:11 mark when Nowitzki hit a 15-foot jumper while being inadvertently scratched on the forehead by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka. No foul was called.

On the way back down court, an irritated Nowitzki not-so-inadvertently gave Ibaka a forearm shiver in the back around midcourt. The shiver was missed by officials, but was noticed by just about everyone else.

Carlisle became noticeably more composed on the sideline thereafter and the Thunder wound up winning 102-99 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Following the Thunder's 99-98 victory in Game 1, Carlisle spoke of the Thunder's defensive approach against Nowitzki.

“They're going to grab and hold,” Carlisle said. “To me, a typical example is the play before the first half ends. He's getting grabbed and held, and they call a foul on Dirk because he's just reacting to all the contact. You know, that turns into a possession for them and they hit a 3. It's a big momentum play.

“I've seen this for four years. People grab and hold him all the time. I mean, all the time. He shows incredible restraint in those areas. Oklahoma City is being physical.”

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