MAVS MONEYBALL: With just moments left in the game. Dirk Nowitzki decided he didn’t want to go out with his tail between his legs, and he led the Mavericks in a 15-2 run to close within two. And when I say led, I mean he hit about four unpossible shots. And then, with a shot-clock left in the game, he drew the foul, waltzed to the line, and hit them both. To tie the game. Make that a 17-2 run. Shawn Marion blocked a silly shot by Kevin Durant and Jason Kidd grabbed the ball and immediately called time out. Guess what? We’re headed to overtime. A pair of free throws to start the extra period put the Mavericks ahead for the first time in the game. The teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of overtime, and they took a break tied at 105 with 1:15 left to play. Wouldn’t you know it, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd double-teamed Kevin Durant and forced the turnover. On the other end, Kidd (swoon) hit a three like it wasn’t nothing. The Thunder couldn’t finish the incredible game they started. Some free throws from both Jasons put the metaphorical nails in the coffin and the Mavericks will fly back to Dallas with one game standing between them and the Finals.
ESPN DALLAS: At one point in the third quarter, after a possession of body bumping with Marion, Thunder coach Scott Brooks had to calm Durant down during a timeout. Later in the quarter, Durant just shoved Marion for an easy offensive call. For a second consecutive game, Marion rose to the challenge and choked off the NBA’s scoring leader. Durant still managed 29 points, but he needed 22 shot attempts and he was just 3-of-12 in the second half with six turnovers and 0-of-3 in overtime. “When he plays that way,” Mavs guard Jason Terry said of the man called The Matrix, “he’s the best on-ball defender in the league.” Marion got a piece of Durant’s last-gasp 3-pointer from 30 feet that remarkably sent the game into overtime. “He had nowhere to go,” Marion said.
DAILY THUNDER: The Thunder led 99-84 with 5:05 to go. After that, the Mavs outscored them 28-6, including overtime. It started the second James Harden fouled out. It was a dumb backcourt foul with the Mavs in the bonus. Once that happened, the collapse started. That was the first pebble getting kicked off the hilltop. From that second on, the avalanche was on…………………………………………………..Get used to this. It’s part of it. This is part of having a team that you love dearly, that you make yourself a part of. It hurts when bad things happen. It’s not always good and fun. It’s year three and this team is young. If we’re lucky, there’s going to be a lot more heartbreaking moments over the next 50 years. You think Blazer fans are over their Game 7 collapse against the Lakers? It happens. And you won’t get over it. The only way you will is if the Thunder pulls off a stunner and wins this series somehow. The chances of that happening, well, aren’t good.
HEAT INDEX: “Atlanta’s double-team was different, Orlando’s was different,” (Derrick) Rose said Monday. “It’s totally different, they are way athletic.” What Rose is calling a double-team is the Heat’s pick-and-roll coverage on him so far in the series. Just that he’s using the term “double-team” speaks volumes because, well, the Heat generally aren’t using double-teams. They’re just moving so quickly and playing together so well that it seems like they are doubling him. “It’s a learning experience,” Rose said. “I have to read what they’re doing.” Rose is still averaging 23 points and six assists on 39 percent shooting in the three games. That’s pretty good. But considering that’s seven points, four assists and six percentage points lower than his nightly efforts in the previous round against the Hawks, it certainly seems like he’s struggling. With the Bulls having difficulty scoring against the Heat, it is only magnified.
ESPN CHICAGO: On Monday afternoon, the league responded with a $50,000 fine. (Joakim) Noah called himself “an open-minded guy” and said he lost his cool. We can certainly believe both. The jig was up on the former with the seersucker suit. And as for the latter, there is no evidence to support the notion that Noah put any more thought into his comment than one would in shouting a nasty word upon burning his hand on a stove. Furthermore, it continues to stink that some fans believe the price of a ticket buys them the right to be abusive morons. “There are times when a fan like that … honestly, I felt like jumping in the crowd,” said Luol Deng, ever the supportive teammate. “We’re human. The camera is not on that fan at all. I know Jo apologized and everything. People got to see it the other way, too.” That said, it’s disappointing that Noah’s maturation, seemingly an endless process early in his career, is still bumping along at age 26 and in his fourth season in the league.
SPURS NATION: Manu Ginobili’s elbow injury appears to be more extensive than might have first been reported. Ginobili told the Argentine website Noticiasmdq.com that he sustained a small fracture of the right humerus, the long bone in the arm that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. The injury occurred in the final game of the regular season on April 13 when he was trapped in a collision between Tim Duncan and Phoenix’s Grant Hill. The Spurs originally announced that Ginobili sustained a sprained elbow. He missed the first game of the playoffs and then played the remaining five games with the injury in the six-game series loss to Memphis. He averaged a team-leading 20.6 points per game against the Grizzlies despite playing with a balky brace.