David Stern needs to help out Oklahoma City one more time. He needs to use his powers for good and make NBA games three periods instead of four. Heck, he can even make them longer if he wants. Just as long as the Thunder don't have to worry about how to finish out an opponent in the final 12 minutes of action. For what seems like the tenth time already, OKC had a late lead and couldn't find a way to win.
What makes this loss especially difficult was the opponent and location. Dallas may not be in the top tier of Western Conference teams anymore, but they are certainly a tall order for the Thunder. The Mavericks also have Dirk Nowitzki, one of the most complete players in the league. Any way you slice it, OKC faced many challenges in Texas without much to go on.
Leading almost the entire game, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green couldn't overcome the Mavs' own dynamic duo of Nowitzki and Jason Terry. Green tried to keep pace offensively with his counterpart but failed defensively against the taller Nowitzki. Down the stretch Dallas proved tougher mentally, and the young Thunder squad will have to put the game behind them quickly.
Things only get tougher for OKC's Green on both ends of the court. The power forward has to face the top player in the world at that position, and the Thunder picked a bad time to face the team they are modeled after...
San Antonio is rolling right now, and the Spurs would be happy to put a bunch of upstarts in their place. Tim Duncan is too big and too skilled for Green one-on-one, and he is a very skilled passer if double-teamed. Coach Brooks will have to make a decision on how to play defense, but the current roster isn't suited for a inside battle. With Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both back for the Spurs, Durant and Westbrook will have their toughest test of the season.
OKC played a tough game last night while San Antonio was off, not exactly the situation GM Sam Presti was hoping for against his former club. This game could get ugly early and show just how much an inside threat would better balance the roster. Dallas didn't have to worry about it, and now the Spurs can send the Thunder back home hurting for change. Hopefully I am proven wrong, and carbert can provide some good news tomorrow. If not the clock has started for Presti to earn his reputation and find a way to make this year's team better. And soon...
AL Notes: Vlad Jr., Bogaerts, Twins, Castellanos
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