Found January 04, 2012 on isportsweb.com:

So close, but as the saying goes, so far away. The Dallas Mavericks have won their fair share of buzzer beaters over time, but you really hate to lose one, especially when it feels and looks like your team if finally coming together and you can shut the nay sayers up for a while; but then as Dirk has saved Dallas many times, Kevin Durant did the same for Oklahoma City with a 3 at the buzzer to give the Thunder its third win and give Dallas their third loss to start the season.

As I have stated before, with a compressed season as it is now, Dallas is going to have to grab every opportunity it can to capitalize on a win and get to where they know they need to be.

By looking at the stats, as some do, one would have thought that with the numbers the way they were, Dallas would have won this game, but the game isn’t all about stats, it’s about overcoming errors, mistakes and problems and adapting to the situation at hand and for the most part, the Mavs did just that.

Oklahoma City was better in the field goal percentage by shooting a whopping 58.7% to Dallas’ 42.2 and they were fairly good behind the arc with 42.9 to Dallas’ 34.6, but Dallas finally did some good on converting their free throws, the bread and butter of points by shooting 81% to Oklahoma City’s 75%, but the biggest difference on paper is the turnover ration; Dallas only committed 12 turnovers to OKC’s 26, that’s right 26 turnovers and Dallas was able to convert those turnovers into 33 points and finally showing some sign of defense by grabbing 38 rebounds, which is the same as the Thunder.

The rebounding has been a big issue this season so far for Dallas, but at least staying right there with a team on rebounding; of those rebounds, Dallas had 14 on the offensive end to OKC’s 6, that’s what you need to do; rebound on both ends of the court and when you are getting the offensive rebounds, you’re giving your team second chance opportunities of scoring.

Dirk’s night was made up of 29 points and 10 of those rebounds; adding to the pack was JET with 16 points, which included 4 3 pointers and 9 assists, and Delonte West added 15 points. They were the only Mavs in double-digit anything for the night.

OKC had Durant, who had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Serge Ibaka who added 16, as well as Russell Westbrook, and James Harden who added 15 points as well.

We all know that the Thunder is an up and coming team as they fought their way into the Western Conference Finals last season, so we know they are going to be equal contenders this season. They kept the biggest majority of their team, while Dallas is in the middle of a rebuilding mode, but Dallas showed signs of the championship team tonight where they had not in the previous two games and that is good. Yes this was a loss, but not a total loss; Dallas can use this to continue to build upon for the remainder of the season.

This game was a combination of twists and turns all throughout with several lead changes, but it showed the tenacity of both teams, especially the Mavs as to what type of grit and character they would have. Both Odom and Carter played better with the team as a team and it showed that the work they had been doing was finally paying off, now we just needed to build on it.

With a matter of seconds left, Dirk let the defense collapse in on him, he threw the ball out to Carter for the three and BAM, you would have thought game over. Durant was upset with himself because he didn’t cover Carter close enough, but his teammates told him not to worry, they’d get it back. Well you would think that it would be over with a mere 2.4 seconds left, just enough for an inbound catch and hail mary shot and Dallas just hoping that it not be in the Thunders favor but in Dallas’.

We all sat there patiently waiting for the time out to be over, watched the teams jockey around half-court to see who was going to guard who, Dirk with his arms flailing around to distract the inbound ball and then Durant went on the run with JET trying to close in and there it was; catch and shoot and as the buzzer goes off, nothing but net on a lucky shot. I don’t care what anyone says, it was a lucky shot, but it was their lucky shot just like we have had our share of them. So now the Thunder start off 4-0 while the Mavericks are 0-3 and now having to regroup to head back home to try to recover from such a loss.

Now the Mavs are going to go back to Dallas to face the Toronto Raptors and try to end the year on a good note and get a win to erase the goose egg that sits under the “W” column in the standings and get out of the bottom of the standings.

So I now bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
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