Ninety minutes before Game 3 on Thursday night, Thunder coach Scott Brooks and Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle crossed paths in a hallway at American Airlines Center en route to doing their pregame interviews.
Former roommates 25 years ago with the Albany Patroons of the CBA, Brooks and Carlisle are longtime friends, but got into a war of words after Game 1 concerning the physicality of play in their playoff series.
When he spotted Carlisle walking toward him roughly 30 feet away, Brooks playfully put up both fists in a boxer's pose, smiled and said, “OK, let's end this right now.”
Carlisle smiled back. The former roomies shared a brief hug and wished each other luck.
OKC shot 41.3 percent in the first half and 43.6 percent to finish 42.4 percent. The biggest difference came in the third quarter, when the Thunder outscored Dallas 25-16, shooting 50 percent (11 for 22) compared to 22.2 percent (4 for 18) for Mavs.
Dallas shot 36.8 percent in the first half and 31.6 percent in the second half to finish at 34.2 percent.
Take away Kevin Durant (11 for 15) and Serge Ibaka (5 for 8) and OKC shot just .323 (20 for 62) from the floor. No other Thunder player shot 50 percent.
A sellout crowd of 20,640 was on hand at AAC, but fans started to file out during a timeout with 7:48 left in the game and OKC leading 87-65.
Both teams inserted their reserves with 4:52 left and the score 95-69. Dallas reserves included for Tulsa Victory Christian standout Kelenna Azubuike. The Mavs bench outscored the Thunder 10-0 to close out the game.
Game 4 — Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Dallas
Game 5, if necessary — Monday at 7 p.m., Chesapeake Energy Arena
Game 6, if necessary — May 10 at TBA, Dallas
Game 7, if necessary — May 12 at TBA, Chesapeake Energy Arena
The Thunder, which finished the regular season dead last in turnover at 16.3 per game, finished with a season-low eight on Thursday. The previous low was 10 on two occasions. ... The Mavericks had 16 turnovers, but the Thunder converted them into just seven points. Dallas turned OKC's eight turnovers in 10 points. … After going 37 for 39 (.949) at the line, Thunder converted just 11 for 17 (.647) from the line, including 4 for 8 in the fourth quarter.
Rumble the Bison will perform at 8:30 a.m. Friday for more than 400 students, parents and teachers at Quail Creek Elementary School, 11700 Thorn Ridge Road.
He will demonstrate the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with props and a skit. The performance is in support of the 2012 Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association and Sanofi US.
Thunder guard James Harden on the importance of winning on the road: “This was a Game 7 for us. We needed it. It was a must-win for us and we came out with that intensity. Same thing for the next game as well.”