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The defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks couldn’t quite walk-the-walk Saturday night against the Thunder but that hasn’t stopped them from talking-the-talk ever since.
“Oh we know we can beat them, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Mavs guard Jason Terry said after Dallas practiced on Sunday. And he kept going even after someone asked him about that lock down defense Russell Westbrook tied him up with in the fourth quarter, “I don’t care who’s on me, it doesn’t matter,” said the Jet.
It must be part of that, “we’ll come out with all our guns blazing,” philosophy Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle talked about in his postgame news conference Saturday night which also included some heavy whining about the whistle blowers not taking better care of Dirk Nowitzki.
“He’s getting grabbed and held and they call a foul on him,” Carlisle griped about a call just before halftime, “if you back off of him at 22 feet he’s gonna hit the shot so people grab him and hold him.”
Scott Brooks, the Thunder head coach and former Carlisle roomie during the old CBA days, urged reporters not to buy any of the uh natural fertilizer Carlisle was spreading around.
“You might as well just go back to your quotes from 2011, he said the same thing then,” Scotty pointed out and then added, “you guys can’t get sucked into that, that’s what he (Carlisle) does.”
Of course we in the media buying in or not doesn’t matter. Is the Thunder coach concerned the guys in the grey shirts will get the message and put the big German on the free throw line more than they should?
“No,” was Brooks’ straight to-the-point answer.
It’s all part of the newest Red River Rivalry…Dallas and Oklahoma City, ‘little brother,’ as Jason Terry has referred to the Thunder.
After yesterday’s practice and today’s shoot-around Thunder players refused to rise to the bait.
“Those guys, man, they’re a mentally tough team,” complimented Thunder star Kevin Durant, “they come at you in so many different ways. I don’t think we got their best shot (Saturday night) we just have to keep playing, do the best we can and see what happens.”
Brooks said his players and coaches accomplished what they needed to during today’s shoot-around.
“We had a good film session and our focus was good when we got out on the court,” he said, “we just went over some of the things we need to improve on and just talked about the things we did well and maybe just try to do them a little bit better.”
Steady as she goes for the good ship Thunder. Just avoid any Jason Terry torpedoes and hopefully sail into Dallas with a 2-0 lead.
Randy Renner has covered Oklahoma sports for 30 years and contributes to NBA.com.