OKLAHOMA CITY Rick Carlisle talked tough late into Monday night in Oklahoma City.
Sounded upset, too, not just suggesting the Thunder played in a manner unsuitable for gentlemen, but using some words unsuitable for print.
Carlisle did the talking, saying the "Dirty bull---- has to stop." He talked about cheap shots and dangerous play, but tried to play it off congenially by saying he didn't want anyone to get hurt.
And while Carlisle was talking, not so specifically about the Thunder's version of Steve McQueen in Kendrick Perkins, scuffling and scowling at and with Dirk Nowitzki, it wasn't a cheap shot by the Thunder that beat the Mavs 102-99 Monday inside Chesapeake Arena.
It was a direct blow.
The defending champion isn't done, but the Thunder are ahead 2-0 because they were tougher when it counted most, starting with Perkins in the first quarter and finishing with another rally late.
Nowitzki and Perkins got tangled up in the first quarter and it looked like something more...