Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 5/2/12

ATTENTION, ATTENTION, ATTENTION all  Dallas Mavericks players, coaches, staff and fans, just roll it up for this year, go home and we’ll see you next season and better luck next time.

If you listened to some of the commentators after the game, that’s the impression you would have gotten, especially from Charles Barkley on TNT, as he quoted, “Dallas is just not good enough to beat Oklahoma City, they’re too old and slow and don’t have enough to beat them”. Mr. Barkley, while I have loved listening to some of your color commentating over the years and you have shown some spark in what you say, you are the same guy that just a couple of months ago stated that Dirk Nowitzki was done, Father Time had caught up with him and he couldn’t carry the team any more.

Again he has proven you wrong and I am so happy about that.

I didn’t have the privilege of watching the game live, so I had to DVR it and watched it later and within the first 5 minutes I was ready to throw something at the television because of the way the game was going. Not that Dallas was losing, but because of the officiating. The other thing, why boo a man who has done nothing to you, your team or your city that is detrimental? He is not a threat to you or your organization except to maybe beat you and you boo him and make cat calls from the stands, maybe it just shows your lack of ethics and mentality if you ask me. Again this is just my opinion.

I know that Rick Carlisle had made his thoughts very vocal about the way the Thunder were guarding Dirk and how they played the game, and I never try to put the blame on anyone but the players as to who wins and who loses, but this was ridiculous.

Up to the point with a little over 5 minutes left in the first quarter, before the double technical fouls on both Dirk and Kendrick Perkins, I counted 5 fouls that were committed by the Thunder that were not counted and 2 were very blatant fouls right in front of a referee. The thing of it is, just call it both ways and don’t try to do make up calls later in the game for a foul that you chose to overlook in the first quarter; all that does is shows that maybe you are showing favoritism for one team or another. My motto of sports is, y0u win fair and you lose fair, that’s it, nothing in between and if you do that it doesn’t matter if you lose or win, but it goes back to the old concept people used to have, it’s a matter of how you play the game.

Now I realize that this is playoff basketball and they might let a little bit more physical plays go, but when a guy is smacked in the face, in front of the ref, and a guy is shoved under the basket, in front of the ref and no call is made, things are going to get out of hand as they did when the double techs were called.

Over the years, Dirk has been called a “soft” player and he has tried to come out from under that label and last year especially, I feel that he shed that persona and has over the last couple of years learned how to take the bumps and bangs and has gone toe to toe with the defenders on him and play a little bit more aggressively on both ends of the court, but good Lord, how many times does a guy have to get punched in the back, slapped in the face, pushed off the ball before you say enough is enough. The Thunder threw every possible defender, Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Durant at him and he’s like a Timex watch, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I am not blaming the loss of this game or any other game on the referees, but before it gets to the point where there is retaliation on the part of any player, you have go to take control of the game and that’s the referees job.

Dirk is not and has never been a dirty player and personally, I don’t feel that he will ever be a dirty player or go out on the court with the intention of hurting anyone or seeking revenge, but there are players out there that will, but he takes more hits than almost any other player out there, but doesn’t get near the calls that some players do. But I will commend him and the rest of the Maverick team, they stood toe to toe with the Thunder and gave it their all and I will applaud them for that.

Unfortunately, Dallas came up on the short end of the stick again and is now down 2-0 in this round and they will now head home to see if they can start on evening the series up and I think they will do just that.

This season has been a roller coaster of events for a lot of teams and Dallas has not been left out of that loop and they have had their fair share of drama, but they have worked together to overcome that and hope that they will be able to keep it going, get back to where they were and need to be.

Dirk led the Mavs with 31 points on 10 of 19 from the field which included going perfect from the free throw line on 11 of 11 attempts. Shawn Marion added some spark and finished with 15 points and Delonte West had 13 as well as JET. The Thunder were able to hold JET down the first half, but he finally found a way in the second half to do some scoring, but was not able to cap the final shots to get the tie and force the game into overtime.

Jason Kidd again showed that he is still able to compete with the best of them by putting up 10 points, but he also had 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Dallas overcame a 15 points deficit in the first half when they were down 42-27 and make a game of it and go into halftime only down by 7. Then they came out for the third quarter and took a lead and then it was a back and forth game and they were only down by 2 by the end of the third quarter. So yes, the Thunder pulled off the eventual win, but again Dallas showed people that they will not roll over and die and just give Oklahoma City the win, if they want it, they are going to have to earn it and they will know that Dallas is on the court with them at all times.

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder again with 29 points, Kevin Durant had 26 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden finished the night with 15 points, Perkins had 13 and Derek Fisher added 11.

Again the numbers across the board were close with Dallas finishing the night shooting 41.8% from the field, which was good since they were only shooting 33.3% in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City started off hot and was shooting over 50%, but only finished shooting 44.8% for the night. Dallas did attempt more three pointers which they were only able to connect on 21.7% where Oklahoma City connected on 31.2%, but they took less shots from behind the arc. The Thunder was 94.9% from the free throw line to Dallas’ 87.5%. Dallas only had 14 turnovers to Oklahoma City’s 16, which 7 of them were committed by Durant.

For once Dallas did good on scoring in the paint where they had 40 points to the Thunders 18, so they were able to keep guys from getting to the rim and making more perimeter shots, which is good, makes it easier to guard them up and especially when they go into the Zone Defense mode.

So what’s up now for Dallas? Well they have to get these two games at home to extend their season and go back to Oklahoma City and try to get a win there if they want a chance of going into the Conference Semi-Finals and eventually get back to the Finals this season.

Contrary to a lot of people, Dallas is not done; they are not just going to give the Thunder a good game and a run at it and roll over. They are showing people that if you want to beat us, you are going to have to bring it all and if that includes they bullying part of the game, well I guess you’ll have to bring that too, but be prepared because we are ready for anything and we are “ALL IN”!

Now some may feel that I am a sore loser; I am not. I don’t mind losing as long as it’s on an even playground and both opponents are given the same respect of the game that they deserve and you didn’t alter the course of the game, bottom line.

And with that, I will bid you a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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