Teamwork?

5/21/11

Mavericks 93 Thunder 87
Dal leads 2-1

The Dallas Mavericks jumped out early to a huge lead and the Oklahoma City Thunder never recovered as the Mavs took game 3. Dallas used a balanced attack and showed how teamwork wins games. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion each scored 18 points, while Jason Terry and Jason Kidd added 13. After struggling throughout the game, Dirk Nowitzki did what Kevin Durant failed to do and took control in the final minutes, hitting several clutch jumpers. Durant who also struggled, was nowhere to be found as he watched Russell Westbrook show why Scotty Brooks benched him for the fourth quarter of game 2.

A lot of criticism is going to tossed in Kevin Durant’s direction for not being aggressive and demanding the ball as most superstars do. I agree that Durant needs to be more assertive late in games, but the criticism must also fall on Russell Westbrook.

Although Westbrook led the team with 30 points, he had 7 turnovers and only 4 assists. He also resorted back to his playoff ways in the fourth quarter and did not swing the ball and forced up wild shots. I know people will say Westbrook was trying to take charge, but that’s not the case. He is being stubborn and it is hurting the team. That is part of the reason why Durant didn’t not see the ball.

All the greats had teammates who knew their role and made sure they got the ball. Westbrook does not seem to believe that he is Robin to Durant’s Batman and is hurting the team. It is not a coincidence that the Thunder played better in the fourth quarter of game 2 when Westbrook was on the bench. What I do know is that the Thunder are a much better team when Durant is controlling the fourth as he did in round 1 against Denver and in his 39-point game 7 performance against Memphis. This notion that Durant is clutch is vastly exaggerated. People seem to have short memories and are over-reacting to one game. What else I know is that the Thunder are a much better team when Westbrook is sharing the ball. In game 7 against Memphis, Westbrook recorded a triple-double and played his best all-around game in what has been an inconsistent post season for him. The scoring is great, but he’s most dangerous when he is getting his teammates involved.

One thing that this series is exposing is that the Thunder’s young stars still have a lot of growing to do. The only way they are going to win this series is if they play as a team and if their stars know their roles.

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