Feature photo: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) goes to the basket as Dallas Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia (27) defends during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
After a four to one game taking of the 1st round Western Conference series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks, I have come to the conclusion that the Mavs have become one of the most despicable teams in the Association. And that might only apply to Thunder fans. The favorability of the franchise in the Metroplex has gone the way of the Bismarck, deep six to the bottom, and good for the Thunder Nation. Dallas, your owner, coach, and “some” of your players are in fact NBA undercover subversives, bringing out the worst in what is wrong with the league, the officiating, and good name of the Thunder of Oklahoma City. You mucked up this five game series and thankfully OKC won’t see your likes in the series to follow.
The Mavericks had a serious injury problem coming into the series with OKC. as this problem can hit all teams, at different times. The major players hurt for this series just about killed any path for a win for the sixth seeded team. That said, a first game blowout in the on the Thunder floor was a give away game as Dallas coach Rick Carlisle put all his chips on the table for a second game upset. Kevin Durant was mugged in that game, not that you would have know it with his worst shooting performance in his career. But Dallas went to Durant hard, and as you are told, the officials officiate playoff games differently than regular season ones. I say, why? If it is a foul in December, should it not be a foul in April? The NBA has some serious inner issues in this aspect. Plus, the officials want to dish out higher level fouls (one and two) and technical fouls without regard to the instigator of such play. A player can get a technical for just being in a confrontation by standing close, disregarding the real cause of the foul. A player can run the court and get a tech by having someone cross said path, causing a collision, which might have, could have been avoided.
The officials did a better job in monitoring the “flops” of the Dallas players but the continual head jerks, fall downs, and acting continued throughout the five games. You believe Kevin Durant’s elbow hit into the side of Salah Mejri is going to put the big fellow on the ground? Acting. Maybe surprised, but acting. Sure, Durant was given a tech the next day. But is Mejri that weak? I don’t think so.
The Mavs Justin Anderson, the one that got clocked by Kevin Durant in game four is a talented player and is always working hard on the court. But what Durant did might be the tip of the iceberg for this young player. His elbowing of Westbrook in game five was an indicator of his play. It won’t be the first time someone takes a shot at him in the head (Durant) if his play does not clean up.
Coach Rick Carlisle played every card in his pocket to try and upset the Thunder players, especially Durant and Westbrook. Calling out Durant for dirty play was just exactly what his own players were doing. It didn’t work. Owner Mark Cuban and his “only one superstar” on the Thunder remark was not professional. That just infused Westbrook for a near triple double in the final game five.
I enjoyed the series, but not the chirpiness of both teams. It is over and a more dignified series is in the future for Oklahoma City and San Antonio. With the respect these two organizations have for each other, the hard play will continue without the bad blood of the series just ended. That is a good thing.