OKC Thunder (9-7, 3-5 road) vs. Dallas Mavericks (11-3, 5-1 home)
Series: Mavs lead 3-1
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
I don’t know about you, but I’m still going to watch tonight. I haven’t given up. As long as the Thunder still have life, I’m not going to count them out. They’ve built a reputation on resiliency and now they have a chance to cement it.
No doubt the Thunder have a tall mountain to climb. Not just in terms of winning this series, but even winning tonight. Bouncing back from the devastation of Game 4 will be one of the toughest things they’ve had to do in their young careers. And with the way their body language looked at the end of it, things seem gloomy.
It definitely feels like this series is over. That’s probably because it sort of is. The way the Thunder fell on their face in Game 4 and gave away a win basically sealed their fate. And of course only four percent of teams (two out of 200 or something like that) have ever come back from 3-1. Now not only do they have to try and recover from that but they have to do it on the road. Chances aren’t good for them.
However, the other humiliating loss the team suffered, they bounced back from. After a Game 3 loss to Memphis where the Thunder blew a 10-point lead late, OKC bounced back and won a crucial Game 4. Their backs are to the wall even more and they’re even more heartbroken now. Do they have anything left? That’s the question.
It’s about one game at a time. Scott Brooks always preaches that the next game is the most important one. Well this next game is really important. Try and win tonight and then worry about the next one later. You can’t win Game 4 tonight. You can’t win two games tonight. You’ve got to accept your position, try and win this one and then move on to the next. It’s not impossible.
I do keep coming back though to whether or not this young Thunder team is ready to say they’ve had enough. They looked both mentally and physically exhausted after Game 4. These playoffs have been a long haul for them. Playing 20 extra games is definitely new to them.
But Kevin Durant is a player that has a ton of pride. Same with Russell Westbrook. The Mavs have a serious chokehold on the series and it’s just a matter of closing out a young, rattled team at home. No problem, right?
Thing is, these Thunder aren’t quitters. At least I hope they aren’t. And the temptation for the Mavericks could be to relax and try and coast out of the Western Finals. But mess around and give this one away at home and the series will return to Oklahoma City where you can be sure the Thunder don’t want to embarrass themselves again in front of their home crowd. The Mavs could play with some fire here if they don’t take care of business.
I’m talking myself into it, but if I were the Mavs, I’d advise not giving the Thunder a chance. Because if they do, they’re going to get a very angry team in Game 6 ready to prove a point. And of course in a Game 7, who knows.
Don’t quit yet Thunder. Fight one more time. Come on, give us one more thrill. Win this one and let’s see what happens.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go THUNDER UP RISE TOGETHER EVERYBODY.