|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAI was watching the Mavericks-Thunder game last night, and with about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Thunder up by 15, I almost wrote it off as a blowout.
But I kept watching, and the Mavericks kept coming, overcoming a double digit deficit in four minutes with a 17-2 run and tying the game to send it to overtime. And then the veteran team kept attacking, winning the game 112-105 and going up 3-1 over the much younger Oklahoma City.
Once James Harden fouled out of the game a little over midway through the fourth quarter, it was easy to sense a change in the Oklahoma City Thunder offense. After that, there was no identity for the young team, they stopped attacking the basket, and settled for poor long-range jump shots. And unfortunately, they failed to connect on most of them. A couple of key turnover and a couple of missed free throws at the end of regulation sealed it for the Thunder, who blew a 15-point lead that late in the game.
The Dallas Mavericks, though, were just brilliant late in the game, and Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki took control. His three-point shots, impossible jumpers over defenders, and clutch free throws brought Dallas back from the brink of a 2-2 series tie. When OKC could not get any shots to fall, Nowitzki was making some of the most difficult, most contested shots of the game.
Overtime was just a continuation of the last four minutes of regulation, and Dallas outplayed and outscored the Thunder, starting with two free throws from Dirk 16 seconds into the period. At that point, it was all Mavericks, holding the Thunder to 4 points in overtime and scoring 11 of their own to take the 112-105 surprise victory.
The Mavs gave the Thunder their first consecutive home losses in six months, and their first consecutive losses of the playoffs. Game Five will be played in Dallas, and the Thunder will be looking to extend their season by just a few more days with a win. But it is looking more likely every day that Nowitzki, Kidd, and the Mavericks will have one more chance to win an NBA Title.