There are basically two types of Dallas-Oklahoma City games: excruciatingly close ones that wreak havoc on the cardiac patients in the audience, and complete and utter blowouts. Tonight was Type A through most of the third quarter, and then B-ness took temporary control: the Thunder opened the fourth with a 15-0 run, running a modest six-point lead to twenty-one. And then suddenly it was all Mavericks; after missing a dozen shots in a row, they hit seven straight. But the Mavs would get no closer than eight, and Rick Carlisle raised the home-white flag with a minute and a half left. OKC 116, Dallas 103, and a reminder that this year, anyway, whichever type of game it is, the Thunder win it: the season series is duly swept, four-zip.
Of course, Dirk was being Dirkish throughout, and he finished with a game-high, indeed season-high, 33 points on 10-16 shooting. (He also missed a free throw, which is among the most unheard-of things I ever heard of.) Apart from Nowitzki, however, Dallas ran short of offense: the only other Maverick to hit more than half his shots was newly-arrived David Lee, who went two for three. Wesley Matthews did knock down five treys; however, he missed all five of his two-point shots. The Oklahoma City answer to all this was — Dion Waiters? It’s true: Slumpy McSlumperman was 5-8 for the evening, 4-6 on the long-ball, and while this doesn’t mean he’s Back to Normal, it’s certainly a lot more appealing than the prolonged mope he’s been in. With Waiters delivering, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got to play EchoBall: they both went 8-17 for 24 points each. And Billy Donovan might have contributed to that by tweaking the rotation once more. For the first 46 minutes and change, there was no time in which KD and Westbrook both sat: one of them would be on the floor at all times. Did it work? Well, there’s that W.
The next ten days will be tricky and then some. Tomorrow night in New Orleans, followed by a brief return home, although the Warriors will be waiting when they arrive. Then back on the road for Sacramento (they can mess with your head), the Clippers (they can mess with your face), and once again, the Warriors. It’s a long, long slog, finishing out in Milwaukee, where we wait to see if Thunder castoff Steve Novak gets to play.