Hello? KD, you there? Russell? Heeelloooo? Scottie Brooks is that you? Damn, Dirk really shut up an entire team, an entire city. Brooks said in the postgame that if you aren’t upset after a loss like this, then you can’t get upset over any loss. He’s right. Blowing a 15-point lead in the final four-plus minutes in a pivotal Game 4 is about as low as it gets. Oklahoma City had everything lined up to punch a 2-2 ticket back to Dallas. Except Dirk wasn’t cooperating, and after Dallas’ epic 112-105 overtime win, it’s not even a question anymore. Dirk Nowitzki won’t let his team lose. Perhaps the Thunder’s only hope? Calling Mike O’Hara and Jimmy Flaherty … Trailing by 15 with under five minutes to go, Dallas executed. Most squads would’ve caved. But most teams don’t have Dirk (12-for-20 shooting, 40 points) who hit three or four shots down the stretch that had Chitwood shaking his head. During timeouts, the trainers must’ve been pumping David Hasselhoff into Dirk’s headphones while throwing a hot jacket over his shooting arm. His two free throws with 6.4 seconds left completed a 17-2 run and sent the game to overtime where Jason Kidd‘s (17 points, seven assists, four steals) crippling three with 40 seconds left put the dagger in OKC’s heart … Meanwhile the Thunder love to learn things the hard way. Awful possessions heading into overtime went against the great pace they set for three-and-a-half quarters. Whether it was KD’s (29 points, 15 rebounds) terrible heave on the final possession of regulation or Westbrook’s (7-for-22 shooting, 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists) pull-up J’s and awful offensive management, we kept looking at them sideways. Someone should’ve put a stop to all that (we’re looking at your Scott Brooks). Do they have anything left heading into Game 5? It’s frustrating to see this, seeing the Thunder cower into an L that makes them look like kids playing against grown men (which in a way, is true) … During the third quarter, the color guys talked about Durant’s work ethic. Brooks says he has the work ethic of a backup. We’re assuming that’s a good thing, but didn’t Eddy Curry have the work ethic of a backup? What about Adam Morrison? Slava Medvedenko? We never thought Stacey King and KD were so similar. Shocking really … Oklahoma City came out and hit their first nine shots. Durant’s game was on point, sharp as a razor. You had Durant out there leading like Leonidas, Serge Ibaka (18 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks) putting the hex on Dirk with an out-of-nowhere crossover and even Kendrick Perkins was beasting. But Dallas made enough plays to hang around. Then at the end of the first half, they made their move, cutting the lead down to three. Dirk had the quietest “I’m-too-nice-to-stop” half, missing just one shot on his way to 22 points. And as hot as he was, KD got just eight looks in the first 24. Westbrook took probably that many in wild, off-balance, running jumpers. Then in the second half, Durant struggled with double-teams. Dallas was bringing a second defender whenever he made a move, often catching him at the best time. He finished with nine turnovers, and was completely out-of-sync late. The credit must go to Kidd and Shawn Marion. Marion was rock solid against KD, and Kidd was constantly picking at Durant’s dribble. His critical swipes late in the fourth disrupted OKC’s flow … Van Gundy: “If I was Scott Brooks, I would grow a beard, because I would love James Harden that much” … Let’s pray that Jason Terry (20 points, four steals) never coaches our daughters. We don’t want them running around out there with nine pairs of socks on and throwing up JET signs after every big bucket … It’s one of two ways now for the Thunder: man up or check out. It’s one way or the other. The NBA’s favorite Brady Bunch can’t act like kids anymore. We are way past that. No matter how young you are, opportunities like these don’t come often. There’s no guarantee Westbrook doesn’t go Starbury. There’s no guarantee the Beard doesn’t find better barbers somewhere else. There’s no guarantee of anything. These are some killer growing pains. What will the Thunder do with them? We know what Nowitzki is gonna do: Get ready for the Dirk Snarl on Wednesday … We’re out like James Harden.
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