Following Dirk Nowitzki's 18-point, seven-turnover performance in Game 3, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle questioned how legal the Thunder's defense on his star forward is.
“They're making a great effort on him,” Carlisle said. “Now I don't know, in terms of legal limits; I believe the line may be crossed at times. If so, the league will see that.”
Carlisle then credited Thunder forward Nick Collison for his defense on Nowitzki.
“Collison, again, is another guy that's extremely underrated as a player,” Carlisle said. “He's so important for them, and he does so many things at both ends of the court. I watched him during the whole Memphis series and the job he did on (Zach) Randolph when they really needed to guard him, he guarded him one-on-one. So you're talking about a guy who's one of the best post defenders really in basketball. He's proven that in three playoff series now.”
Led by Collison, the Thunder held Nowitzki to 7-of-21 shooting in 36 minutes.
“He didn't have a good shooting night by his standards, and Oklahoma City had a lot to do with it,” Carlisle said. “They were very physical and they made it tough for him.”