Tramel: Mavericks have been to this rodeo — and it showed

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 24, 2011 at 12:46 am •  Published: May 24, 2011

*In overtime, with the score tied at 103, Russell Westbrook sprinted downcourt and tried to save a ball that clearly had been last touched by Dallas' Jason Terry. Giving a free possession, Terry sank a go-ahead basket.

*The Thunder made three shots in the final 10 minutes, by Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. The Thunder missed 13 shots, and it was no coincidence. Teams generally miss bad shots. Westbrook missed five shots; Durant missed six.

But hey, give the Mavericks credit. Down 15 with legs worn out chasing around Durant and Westbrook for 43 futile minutes, it would have been easy for Dallas to shut it down and think about Game 5. Heck, one or two makes by the Thunder, one or two misses by the Mavs, and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle would have emptied his bench.

Instead, Carlisle emptied his chamber. Dirk Nowitzki, who had been bottled up in the second half by Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison, exploded for 12 points in the final 4:34, including nine in a four-possession span.

“We have a group of guys that are veteran,” Carlisle said. “We've got some really high IQ guys that know each other's strengths.”

The Mavs' lineup that last five minutes of regulation consisted of three 33-year-olds (Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry), 28-year-old Tyson Chandler and 38-year-old Jason Kidd.

Ponce de Leon himself hit the game-winner, a 3-pointer with 40.3 seconds left that broke a 105-105 tie.

The poorly named Kidd is everything the Thunder is not. Old. Wise. Close to the hardwood when he jumps. Savvy. Tough at the end of games.

And in command of the NBA's Western Conference Finals.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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...
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