"You can sense it," said Fisher, a five-time champion. "It's not something you can anticipate or plan for, but there are opportunities in key games where there's a chance to get separation and put a team in a position where it's going to be almost impossible for them to get back.
"I thought (Thursday) night … I was very proud of our guys for mentally staying very focused, and then finding that breaking point where you can get the separation in the particular game."
Last season, the Mavericks became the second-oldest team to win an NBA title behind the 1998 Chicago Bulls. Despite having an extra day to rest between Games 2 and 3, the Mavs looked worn out Thursday night.
"At this level, at this time of year, age is a plus. Experience is something that counts," Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha said. "But at the same time we want to keep running and getting some easy baskets."
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins spoke of the difficulty in beating any NBA team four straight times, let alone a team in the playoffs — particularly the defending world champions.
"It's not easy at all," Perkins said. "It's a mental thing, a mental toughness, first of all. Each team knows the other's plays, so it's definitely hard. They're the defending champion, so you've got to expect them to come out even harder (Saturday). A team like that has got too much pride to let a young team like us beat 'em four times in a row, with all the Hall of Famers they got."
Dallas won last year's crown, so who better to ask if the Thunder has that championship look this year?
"They led the West most of the year," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They're one of a handful of teams that is a true contender, and we're going to continue to view ourselves that way until we're not playing anymore. We have every intention of going out there (Saturday) night and making a stand and defending our court."
Game 4 — Saturday at 6:30 p.m., American Airlines Center in Dallas
Game 5, if necessary — Monday at 7 p.m., Chesapeake Energy Arena
Game 6, if necessary — May 10 at TBA, American Airlines Center in Dallas
Game 7, if necessary — May 12 at TBA, Chesapeake Energy Arena
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki after the 95-79 loss on Thursday night in Game 3: "Tonight we picked a bad time to put a stinker out there."
Fisher on the chances of winning Game 4: "I think we'll have to be better than (Thursday) night to win because they won't be as bad (Saturday). They'll be much better and we'll have to be better also."