Kevin Durant was simply too much for the streaking Mavericks as he put up 52 points in a 117-114 overtime win for the Thunder. KD might be be the best player in the NBA, he almost certainly the leagues greatest scorer. The man he stole his turnaround fading jumper from, may be fading from the leagues highest platue.
Dirk Nowtkzki had 3 points through the first 3 quarters of this game, and looked terrible. I was set to write the father time never loses post and send a copy to Charles Barkley in hope that Chuck could once again rev up the big german. But always on time, Dirk scored 12 in the 4th to get the Mavs to overtime. Although it took a big time shot from OJ Mayo, coming off a handoff screen to bury a quick trigger 3 to tie the game at 105.
Both of these teams have major flaws, The Mavericks cant rebound. They gave up 18 offensive rebounds to the Thunder. They cant guard players of Durant or Westbrooks caliber. Westbrook had 31 to go with Durants 52. And it looks like Marions days as an elite stopper may be behind him. (Maybe an unfair knee jerk after this game.) Dirk is startling to play with the energy he once had, but the longer this goes, its fair to question if he will ever be the efficient scorer he once was.
The Thunder also have issues, not that they need it, but they have no scoring help behind Westbrook and Durant since Harden was traded. Martin is capable, but doesn’t force a lot of shots knowing KD and Westbrook are better options. They also seem to have trouble closing games, in truth the Mavs didn’t deserve to have 2 chances at this game, but Oklahoma City left the door open. This trait came back to haunt them against the Heat in the finals last year. They may be too good for it to affect them against any other team.
Lost in all this is Vince Carters vintage night. Vince had 29 points on 17 shots, and even had a couple of half-man, half-amazing dunks on the night. Carter has looked much more spry this season, and its a shame that to this point, Dirk and Marion have not been to match his resurgence.
The Mavs biggest problem is point guard. Darren Collison is a talented scorer, but he can’t run an offense, and he can’t guard his position. Mike James is playing all the meaningful minutes, and he’s on the 2nd of 2, 10 day contracts. James didn’t play that much better, as he hit one big three, but took another early in the shot clock at the end of overtime, when he has got to find away to get the ball to Dirk.
The Mavs, 4 game win streak is over, and age caught up with them against two superstars in their prime, but this team has fight. They also have a good collection of talent. The losing 13 of 15 earlier in the season may prove too much to overcome, but if they keep putting out efforts like this, and Dirk can stave off father time another year, they should make it interesting at the end of the season.