With the one-year anniversary of the finale of “LOST” falling in two days, there is no better way to discuss the latest installation of this baffling Western Conference Final – a closer-than-it-should-have-been victory for the visiting Dallas Mavericks – than to examine some key subplots using the titles of episodes from ABC’s classic show.
The Beginning of the End: The Thunder played one of the worst opening periods of these or any playoffs, scoring 12 points on 25 possessions while making only 4-17 field goals and registering no assists against seven turnovers.
Whatever Happened, Happened: Official Marc Davis made two of the worst calls of the playoffs, whistling James Harden for fouls on a Jason Terry drive (Harden had all ball) and a Terry jump shot which Davis somehow saw from across the court.
The crowd voiced its justified displeasure, but couldn’t change the calls or their results, as Terry’s free throws extended the lead to 17 and then 21.
Because You Left: It’s been said, but all the Boston fans who want to blame their team’s second-round loss on Kendrick Perkins’ absence need to watch these games carefully. Perkins is next-to-useless against these agile Dallas big men. He played 18 minutes in the first half and had no discernible impact, then was benched for most of the second half as his team desperately tried to score enough to catch up.
This Place is Death: A combination of sloppy perimeter passing and an inability to penetrate kept the Thunder stagnant offensively for the first three quarters. Westbrook successfully broke down Dallas’ defense as the game moved along, but was often moving too quickly to finish the play – until the fourth quarter, when his penetration against the undersized J.J. Barea was the Thunder’s best offensive weapon.
Through the Looking Glass: Shawn Marion rose to prominence running the fast break with Steve Nash. He’s finishing out his career catching passes from another all-time great point man, Jason Kidd, who repeatedly set Marion up with lobs and look-ahead passes.
Marion had nine baskets in the game none from further than nine feet away.
Follow the Leader: Dirk Nowitzki hit just one of seven field goals in the third quarter, but his team kept getting him the ball in the fourth, and he responded with eight huge points, including the game’s biggest basket on a foul-line pull-up jumper that pushed his team’s lead to eight with 40 seconds remaining.
On the other end, Kevin Durant got only four shots in the final quarter, one of which came on a put-back off Westbrook’s missed drive. If the Thunder are to even the series on Monday, they can’t ignore their offensive leader for entire quarters.
About the Author
Written by Steven Jones
Portland native, Highland Park resident, middle school teacher/basketball coach.