Jeweler and social-network maven (90,000 tweets!) Dan Gordon was asking how come this game started at 8:30, there being no West Coast teams involved; I explained that it was all a matter of television, and the desire to fit most of a doubleheader into prime time. The following interchange ensued:
Dan: oh, but what about us getting to bed at an acceptable hour? #oldmanquestions
Yours truly: The NBA doesn’t care about keeping old men up late. #notsayinganythingaboutthemavs
Maybe I could have said something about the Mavericks, who alternated between arthritic and argumentative for just over 43 minutes, after which Rick Carlisle hoisted the home-white flag. At the time, it was 95-69 OKC, and, said radio guy Matt Pinto, the building was just about empty. The Dallas benchwarmers went on a 10-0 run to finish the thing, but 95-79 still counts as a rout, especially since Oklahoma City did a superior job of shutting down the Maverick offense: Dallas shot 34 percent and turned the ball over 15 times. Oh, and “argumentative”: four techs, including one against Carlisle; Brian Cardinal got one mere seconds after leaving the scorer’s table.
As is often the case, there’s a telltale statistic: the Thunder turned the ball over only eight times, and two of those were in the five-minute temps des ordures. Kevin Durant, who had been merely a factor in the first two games, became the major playmaker in the third, with 31 points, six assists, two steals and three rebounds. This took some of the pressure off Russell Westbrook, who turned in a 20-point line with four assists versus only three turnovers. Serge Ibaka blocked four shots, scored 10, rebounded 11, for the night’s only double-double. And both Derek Fisher and James Harden kicked in ten from the bench.
Okay, maybe one more of those statistics: in the second and third quarters, the Mavs scored a total of 31 points. I’m guessing the rest of the time, they were scrambling for Aspercreme. And Dirk — oh, my heaven, Dirk — went 6-15 from the floor and worse, missed three free throws. That’s a season’s worth of clang for Nowitzki. Nor did anyone else generate much offense: after Dirk’s 17, you have the Jason and Jason combine, with 23 between them, and — well, you’ve seen enough collapses to know which way this is going.
So it’s for all the marbles Saturday night at Probably Broke Airline Fieldhouse, or whatever that damn place is called. Were I going, I’d be bringing brooms, because … well, just because. And hey, at least it’s not at 8:30.