Last night was an amazing time. From seeing Oklahoma City's Thunder come out from the Game 3 loss kicking and screaming, to seeing a 15 point lead drizzle to our Dallas Maverick's 112-to-105 win. The Dallas Mavericks, with an average age of 30-years-old to the Thunder's average age of 24-years-old, never gave up and plunged forward taking advantage of the Thunder's bad decisions and played some of the most aggressive defense they played all night in the last 6-minutes. If you missed this game, you missed so much.
Coming off the win was a crazy feeling. As most Maverick's fans, I felt that it was over come midway through the 4th quarter. But as I sat there, I saw more and more of the point deficit chipped away. I saw Dirk Nowitzki go absolutely mad, shooting a 3-pointer, his standard jumper from the free-throw line, a crazy-cork-screw-off-balance-jumper (which he admits was trying to get a foul), and the overtime inducing free throws (currently Dirk's 50 for 52 at the FT line). Suddenly, we were in this thing. Just watch the ESPN highlights.
Today, I wondered what the reaction outside of the DFW area was so I dug up an article from The Oklahoman. Honestly, was one of the best written articles on a sports event I've read because not only was it on point but it was objective (hard to find in sports writing) and heavily on point. Props to Berry Tramel. You can read the article here: Mavericks have been to this rodeo -- and it shows.
Here's some highlights from the article.
Now we know why young teams, no matter how good, no matter how talented, now matter how athletic, no matter how blessed, eventually get derailed in this meat-grinder known as the NBA playoffs.
"Now we know..." Dallas Maverick fans know this all too well. We understand meltdowns, we understand taking things for granted, and we understand that talent can be stopped but smarts can break through. Not to under-mind the need for talent. I think Van Gundy said it best when he said about Dirk, "We are underselling him, what he is doing is legendary!" You have to have the talent to back up the smarts.
Ahead 99-84 with less than five minutes left, the Thunder choked. Stopped short of the finish line in a game it had to win for any reasonable hope of reaching the NBA Finals...A despondent Kevin Durant claimed youth had nothing to do with it...Better hope he's wrong. Youth means you can grow out of this kind of choke. If youth has nothing to do with it, a game like this could scar the franchise.
The Dallas Mavericks know about this all too well. Since 2006, we've had to fight of the stigma known as soft. You can go up 2 games and then the softness allows you to drop 4 games. This is the stigma that the franchise has had to battle for years. Dirk Nowitzki in particular (as the face of the franchise) has had never received the respect you see given to Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, etc. (I know Shaq gave him his due though...) So now, the Mavericks need to take this win as the momentum they need to finish this series and begin looking to the NBA Finals.
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.
There are people who claim the Devin Harris trade was awful, but from the start, I felt this move was exactly what the Mavericks needed. And it shows.
As a Maverick fan, I am not so jaded from this win to think that this series is over (no matter how much I want to), but I feel very confident in our ability to take 1 of 3. So Take Dat Wit Chew!