I’m beginning to wonder. Kevin Durant got banged up in Dallas t’other day, and everyone was worried if it was still possible to beat the not-so-lowly Grizzlies. Turned out, it was. Then Jeff Green came out of a practice with back pain, and guess who’s coming to town? The freaking Mavericks again.
If Scott Brooks has something in his playbook called “Kick Their Asses,” it’s what was used tonight: the seemingly-depleted Thunder, four up at the half, outscored the Mavs 31-15 in the third quarter and held on for a 96-87 win that probably no one in Loud City actually believed until Russell Westbrook dribbled it out on the last possession.
The starters: Westbrook, Weaver, Sefolosha, Collison and Krstić. The big Serb got a season-high 26 points; Westbrook had a triple-double, with 17 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. The Thabster checked in with another 15-point night. Kyle Weaver got 18 points, one short of his season high. And Nick Collison rose for 9 rebounds. Wily veteran Malik Rose is no doubt happy to be getting serious playing time these days: he scored 7 and snagged five boards in 17 minutes.
I don’t quite know what happened to Dallas, other than that they were outrebounded (41-34), outshot (49.4 to 42.5 percent), and simply outplayed. Dirk, of course, got a Dirk-like 28 points, and Jason Terry came off the bench for 20, but by and large, the Mavs really weren’t in this one. They never gave up — down 23 with a few seconds left in the third, they fought back to within four — but this time, the new kids were determined to make Dallas pay.
I’m not even going to make any predictions for when the Wizards get here Wednesday.