Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told his players to forget about Dallas’ second-worst playoff loss in franchise history after Game 1.
He will need to tell his players the same thing after Game 3.
The Mavericks were humbled for the second time this series, this time courtesy of a 131-102 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Kevin Durant, who had a career-worst shooting night in Game 2, bounced back in a big way on Thursday. The former NBA scoring champion went off for 34 points on 11-of-25 shooting. Russell Westbrook added 26 points to go along with Dion Waiters and Enes Kanter’s 40 combined points off the bench.
The result? A Dallas team that trailed wire-to-wire and ended the night searching for answers.
Not enough grit:
After the game, Carlisle said his team did not show enough fight, something he has preached the majority of the season due in large part to the fact he has been left coaching shorthanded. He said if they are going to compete with a Thunder team that, to no one’s surprise is more talented, they will need to battle and grind out a victory.
The big German:
Dirk Nowitzki had a very effective night shooting, but managed only 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Oklahoma City obviously turned their attention defensively to taking away Dallas’ best player, and did just that. Nowitzki said afterward he fought through screens but at times, was unable to find an open look.
Battling a sports hernia, Deron Williams missed Game 3 after re-aggravating the nagging injury on Monday. Carlisle said he does not know if Williams will be available for Game 5 and does not have a timetable for his return.
Next up: Dallas will try to even the series up at two games apiece in Game 4 on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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