Though several key calls went against them in Game 4, Thunder players did not complain about the officiating.
Reserve forward Nick Collison was whistled for a foul while reaching around Dirk Nowitzki and diving for the ball after deflecting an entry pass.
The foul came with 6.4 seconds left in regulation and allowed Nowitzki to tie the score with two free throws.
Asked if he was surprised by the whistle, Collison said, “Yeah, I was surprised. I was on the high side of him, so I knew I needed to make a play on the ball so he didn't get a layup. There was contact there. It was an unfortunate call for us. I got a hand on the ball. I wish it could have been different, for sure.”
All-Star forward Kevin Durant struggled to adjust to the officiating through the night while enduring constant contact from defender Shawn Marion, among others. Durant also tried a “rip” move three times in Game 4, but failed to draw a foul.
“The refs did a great job,” Durant said. “I've got to be stronger. Of course, that's the move I always do, but I should have tried to get it up to the rim and maybe they would have called the foul. That's on me. I thought the refs did a great job.”
Because of approaching severe weather Tuesday, the Thunder bumped up its flight to Dallas by 90 minutes and departed at 2 p.m.
Center Kendrick Perkins was granted permission to miss the free-throw portion of practice to return home to help prepare his family for potential storm precautions.
Nowitzki had his second 40-point game of the series, which included scoring 12 points in the pivotal fourth quarter.
A key spot for Nowitzki has been starting his possession in the middle of the court.
“He's getting the ball at the top of the key, because that's a really tough place to double,” Collison said. “It's really hard to run a guy at a guy in the middle of the court. You can get picked that way. I just don't know if there's a lot you can do with double-teams (at the top of the key).
“You always feel like you could have done something, but he played great. You have to hand it to him. He played unbelievable down the stretch. He had the one quick 3(-pointer) and he hadn't done that all series, where he caught it and shot it right away. … He's an extremely tough cover. We have to stop him one way, stop him another way, stay down on the fake. He's got so much in his offensive package.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks: “When you get punched, you have to get up. You have no other choice. If you don't, you're not going to grow. You're not going to get better as a player.”