Last month, Dallas guard Jason Terry ruffled a few feathers when he labeled the Oklahoma City Thunder as the Mavericks' “little brother.”
On Wednesday night, the so-called little brother went into Dallas and spanked the Mavs with a dominant second-half defensive performance that resulted in a 95-86 win.
But even before the final outcome, Thunder coach Scott Brooks refuted Terry's comparison.
“I don't feel that way at all. I think we're a good team just like they are,” Brooks said. “They had a great year last year. But they had a lot of tough years prior to that. But one year; you have to keep doing it every year, hammer away at it and they've done a great job.”
Never one to enter into a war of words, Brooks continued to take the high road, praising Dallas for how it has sustained success — at least in the regular season — with 11 consecutive 50-win seasons.
“I think the strength of their team is their stability,” Brooks said. “They've been together a while. They did not break it up when things didn't go well…But I don't look at it as they're a big brother. I look at it as they're a very good team and we are, too. And we're going to keep fighting each other.”
When asked last month about the Thunder and Mavs, Terry was quoted by Dallas-area reporters as saying “It's a big brother-little brother scenario. It is what it is. They're good. They're up and coming and they're dangerous. When you got guys like (Russell) Westbrook and (Kevin) Durant on your ballclub, it's tough any time. They've beaten us a number of times. Now, if you want to say in a series, that would make some intensity come to the rivalry.”
PERKINS SPEAKS ON SACRIFICE
Prior to Wednesday's game at Dallas, center Kendrick Perkins attempted to clarify comments he made Monday night about the team needing to commit to more sacrifice.
“In order to take it to the next level guys have to sacrifice,” Perkins told The Oklahoman. “You can always win games, and with the talent that we got the majority of the nights we're definitely going to win games. But if you don't sacrifice within the team and think team then our goals and what we're really trying to accomplish are going to be even harder. Because at the end of the day, when you get in the playoffs you need everybody playing with a high confidence level.”
Perkins, when asked to elaborate, declined to go into detail about which specific areas the team needs to focus on in sacrificing.
“I'll leave it at this,” Perkins said. “Things that's known really don't have to be said. If you watch our games and watch what's going on and you know basketball, you know what areas I'm talking about.”
Through the first 21 games, the Thunder has struggled most with a lack of consistent ball movement, failure to box out regularly on defense and an excess number of turnovers.
CUBAN COMPLAINS ABOUT OFFICIATING
Following the Thunder's win Wednesday night, Mavs owner Mark Cuban complained about the referees in not only that game but the officiating as a whole this season.
“Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time. But I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com. “Guys miss calls; that's part of the game. You're not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that's part of the game.
“But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens.”
Wednesday's game was officiated by Ron Garretson, Michael Smith and Mark Ayotte.
“It all comes down to this: I understand that it's tough for the officials now,” Cuban said. “They're going through the same travel stress as everybody else. But there's absolutely no transparency right now. I mean, you get games like tonight where it was just horrible. Who knows, I'm not saying it impacted the game, but you can just start naming the calls.”
Cuban later cited the lockout as a potential reason for what he considers poor officiated games.
“There's a lot of guys and teams that aren't having great starts to the season, and there's a lot of crews that aren't having great starts to the season. The league needs to make some adjustments, because you can't have it like this all the time.”
CARLISLE APOLOGIZES FOR KICKING BALL
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected from Wednesday's game against the Thunder after receiving two separate technical fouls, apologized immediately after the game for kicking a ball into the stands and hitting fans seated courtside.
“I want to apologize to our franchise, Mark, our fans,” Carlisle said. “The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands, that can't happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands. I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I'm not a very good kick. But that can't happen. The officials made the right call on that one. That's a regrettable decision.”
The incident happened early in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder will return to Chesapeake Energy Arena for one night to face Memphis on Friday before embarking on a five-game road trip. Tip-off against the Grizzlies is scheduled for 7 p.m.