Kevin Durant stepped up and scored 39 points today (4 treys). Westbrook had a triple – double. The two guards came through HUGE today. The Thunder victory ended a storybook run for the 8-seed Grizzlies. It was a fantastic series and one that I did not cover nearly enough. Scottie Brooks kept his team focused and balanced during this marathon series. OKC grew and handled adversity well.
The question now is simple – can the kids handle the vets? Dallas is primarily a veteren team whereas OKC is fairly young. Can the atheletic Thunder overtake the Mavericks? Doubtful… The Mavs have a 7 footer who can fade away with ease. Dirk Diggler is has been rock hard in the playoffs. He is averaging 26.5 PPG. With Jason Terry playing a perfect Reed Rothchild (15.8 PPG). Rothchild is the perfect sidekick off the bench. Hs energy stabilizes this veteran team.
The Mavericks play much better defense under Rick Carlisle. This is the key in the playoffs. I know the mass media has rambled and pontificated about the “new NBA” with the Miami Heat, OKC, and Memphis. They are more atheletic and aggresive then previous NBA teams. They also tend to run a bit more and dislike half-court sets. I agree this may be the new trend in the NBA. However, I firmly believe that the Mavericks are going to win the NBA Championship. They are going to buck the trend and win by playing good D, shooting well from beyond the arc, and great bench play. Not only do they have Jason Terry but they are getting great energy from the token NBA midget in Jose Barea. Barea took the majority of the Lakers frustration with multiple cheap shots being sent his way. He has a great knack of irritating the opponent— Similiar to his owner Mark “the cock” Cuban.
With the steady contribution of Peja Stokakovic and the energy buzzing about the possible return of Caron Butler and this team has all the makings of a title.