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OKC Thunder: Oklahoma City turns cagey to take Game 2

COMMENTARY — Dallas' Jason Terry calls OKC the Mavericks' “Little brother.” Oklahoma City's 102-99 victory in Game 2 is evidence the Thunder is growing up.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 1, 2012

Little Brother is growing up. What a difference a year makes.

The Thunder leads the Dallas Mavericks two games to none in a Western Conference playoff series that is as much hacksaws and switchblades as bounce passes and jump shots.

It hasn't been one bit easy. But it has been awfully telling.

The Thunder beat the Mavs 102-99 Monday night in a Game 2 that, just like Game 1, could have gone either way. But it went the Thunder's way because the Thunder didn't wilt.

Maverick sharpshooter Jason Terry has called the Thunder the little brother in this rivalry, and maybe that's true. But maybe not for long.

A year ago in the West finals, Dallas beat the Boomers with down-the-stretch execution. The Thunder didn't exactly execute its way to victory Monday, but it kept the Mavs from doing the same.

On Dallas' final five possessions, the Mavs scored just once — a virtual uncontested layup by Jason Terry that OKC was glad to give up, since it protected a three-point lead and forced the Mavs to play the foul game.

On this night, that was a loser for Dallas. The Thunder made 37 of 39 foul shots, with its final four points coming from James Harden at the line in the final 25.5 seconds.

In the final two minutes, the Thunder got a steal (Kevin Durant, on a Jason Kidd pass) and three other stops. Two Thunder thorns, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, combined to miss four shots in the final 73 seconds.

Terry's two misses came on the final possession, and when the latter bounced away, the Thunder had total control of a series that is shaping up to be incredibly well-balanced.

Much like last May. Except now it tilts toward the Thunder.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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