Experience trumps youth: Why my wallet and I liked Dallas over Oklahoma City

Once the Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals, I absolutely loved them against Oklahoma City.  To me, a Dallas victory was a no-brainer.  The Thunder may have been the trendy pick, but trendy is the reason there are so many casinos in Las Vegas.

Throughout recent history, one thing has held true in the NBA playoffs.  Young teams have to take their lumps before tasting glory.  The Association doesn’t hand out championships as door prizes.

Dallas has taken those lumps.  The Mavs roster was comprised solely of veterans who had come close, only to taste bitter defeat.  Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic have a combined 62 years in the league.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for five.  Desire is a statistic you can’t measure.

For that reason alone, I saw Dallas as quite the bargain and minus 200.  I was actually surprised so many people liked the Thunder.  One faithful SportsChump reader even wrote in “When you figure out who’s going to guard Westbrook, let me know.”  I’m looking forward to his forthcoming apology post.  Westbrook is talented, but could be forced into taking bad shots. (Note:  He shot 36% in the series).

So I took Dallas, confident about my wager, wanting to bet more.

Then came tip-off of Game One.  When Dirk and Durant started the series 12-for-12 from the floor, I knew we were in for an exciting ride.  Although Oklahoma City kept things close in the first half, Game One went handily to the Mavericks.  Dirk scored 48, including a record 24-for-24 from the free throw line.  JJ Barea added 21 off the bench .  I felt good about my bet.

Then came Game Two.  Oklahoma City made adjustments and Dallas played like crap.  I haven’t seen that many players leave their feet to pass since my last pick-up game at the YMCA.  All night long, the considerably younger Thunder looked like the more experienced team while the Mavs look like the soft Mavs of old.

The Thunder bench, which was outscored by 30 in Game One, outscored Dallas’ bench by 20 in Game Two.  A 50-point swing, ironically how much money I bet on the series.  James Harden was unstoppable and OKC looked like it might just be their time.  Uh oh, could I have been wrong?

Then came Game Three.  A lackluster performance by the Mavs was superseded only by an even more lackluster performance by the Thunder, resulting in a Dallas victory.  Dallas stole back home court advantage and I once again felt comfy with my wager.

Then came the turning point in the series.  It was only a matter of time, really.

Oklahoma City had Game Four won, over and done, up fifteen points with five minutes to play.  Bags packed, headlines printed, Dewey defeats Truman.  I even received an email from the same Thunder supporter I referred to earlier which read “It’s a good thing OKC didn’t choke that game away and you’ll be apologizing to me in an upcoming SportsChump post.  I mean OKC is really in the driver’s seat now, aren’t they?  (I think I’ll be having a drink in a few minutes).”

Ouch!  As the ink was still drying on that e-mail, Dallas went on a 17-2 run to force overtime and ultimately, a Dallas victory.  Goodnight, sweet prince.  In the post-game press conference, coach Scotty Brooks looked as if he had just seen a ghost.  The ghost of his 2011 Finals chances past, all but destroyed by a seven-foot German named Nowitzki.

In the final game of their season, Oklahoma City pretty much led the entire game, again, until the very end.  Championships are for closers and the Thunder have yet to acquire that skill.  It’s okay.  Neither has Chicago.

Kevin Durant and company could not get it done and for that reason, I’m cashing my ticket at the window.  Memo to self: When I feel that confident about a wager, bet more.

Oklahoma City’s future is bright, but now is not their time.  In another week or so, we’ll see if it’s Dallas’.

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38 Replies to “Experience trumps youth: Why my wallet and I liked Dallas over Oklahoma City”

  1. Pingback: Experience trumps youth: Why my wallet and I liked Dallas over Oklahoma City, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. I think that faithful reader of yours was just hospitalized for choking on some humble pie.

    Did OKC really squander that huge lead with 5 minutes to go in Game 4? Was old man Jason Kidd really guarding Kevin Durant for long stretches? Did Russell Westbrook really not post up the 5’8″ JJ Barea at all during the series?

    My head is hurting…I need to take an asprin.

  3. Love the Truman newspaper pix! Who knew he could see into the future that way? (nicely done.)
    And you too! Congrats.
    It’s in the blood. 🙂

  4. Chris

    For me the difference was the fact that the Mavs showed that they now know how to play defense when asked to . Chandler to me has been the difference for the Mavericks of now and the Mavs of old .

    But I do believe that the Heat in these Finals will have too much for the Mavs to deal with .

    tophatal ………….

  5. I was kinda surprised OKC didn’t win another game, but it is what it is. Sure hope Dallas can figure out a way to beat Miami, but I have my doubts on that one…

  6. I agree with you 100% on Chandler, Al. Dallas has done a nice job getting rid of the deadwood over the years. Dampier was a drag. Josh Howard was trouble.

    Chandler provides energy, meanness, not to mention points, rebounds and blocks. He’s exactly what they needed.

    They may need him to be a 20-10 guy against Miami.

  7. Chap…

    Miami is -190, making Dallas +160, so there’s really no money to be made off this series, unless you pick the exact right outcome in games.

    I think Dallas CAN win. I doubt I’ll be posting an NBA preview but I’m sure we’ll be discussing it on the podcast.

    Suffice to say I’m a lot less confident about the outcome of this series that I was about OKC-Dallas.

    As much as I’d like to see Dallas win it, let’s just say I can see why Miami is the favorite and it’s not just because of home court advantage.

  8. I hope that the critics of Danny Ainge’s trade of Kendrick Perkins will finally shut their pie holes since Perk was nearly invisible during the playoffs. He didn’t help the Thunder and he wouldn’t have helped the Celtics either.

  9. Tough to say, Snake.

    The match-ups were just different.

    Perk had logged many a minute playing with the C’s. With the Heat’s big men hurt (and pretty much useless anyway), Miami didn’t have the size to match up with him. OKC didn’t know how to use him. Besides, how could he get a shot off with Durant and Westbrook launching 75% of their field goal attempts?

    The mere fact that Doc came out shortly after their series was over and said they missed his presence is good enough for me.

  10. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. It wasn’t Perkins lack of scoring but the fact that he wasn’t rebounding or blocking like he should have. I don’t know why Doc said what he did, but as a diehard Cs fan,I can state that I don’t miss Perkins. Maybe they were never going to go all the way this season, but Jeff Green is past of their future. Any way you look at it, mid-season trades are tougher than a $1.89 steak from Tad’s. I hope that the last reference brought back a memory for you.

  11. This NBA Finals will end up being a battle of wills . I don’t expect the Heat to go in being complacent but if they do then luck for the Mavs to pull off the upset . But as I said earlier I think that the Heat will prove to be too much with the series mirroring their previous meeting in the Finals … 4-2 series win for the Heat .

    Act Like A Champion ………… Walk Like A Champion Even If You’ve Now Been Found Out To Be A Lying Cheat ! .

    tophatal ……….

  12. Chris

    If you’re Brian Shaw how must you feel right now ? The Lakers hire Mike Brown … you interviewed for the vacancy with the Rockets and they look as if they’re about to hire Kevin McHale . I guess he can’t no love ’cause I do believe that Brown might want to bring in his own staff in La La Land !

    USC’s AD Pat Haden says it’s time to move on and let bygones be bygones . So who wrote the response on the school’s website belittling the NCAA and their verdict that might see the school lose multiple scholarships as well as vacating their BCS 2004 national title as well as the results from that year ?

    tophatal ………….

  13. A Tad’s reference. Wow!

    We agree on one thing, Snake. High profile mid-season trades never work.

    Perkins played only 34 games with the Thunder (17 post-season, 17 regular season), never scoring more than 13 points in any game. It shouldn’t take much for a big man to make his presence felt. They shouldn’t have to run plays for him to show up. You’re right. He didn’t.

    I wonder how that will affect them re-signing him.

  14. The thing that scares me about Miami, Al, is that they can turn it on at a moment’s notice. They’ve proven that this entire post-season.

    Dallas is a veteran team but I don’t know that they share that same ability.

    I can tell you I won’t be missing a minute.

  15. Al…

    Shaw will eventually get his chance. I think the Buss family wanted to distance themselves from the Jackson influence which is why B wasn’t hired.

    And would you want that Rockets gig?

  16. Chris

    The Buss family wants to disassociate themselves from Phil ? Perhaps you can remind Jeanie Buss of that ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!

    Phil’s been riding that train for quite a while now and he shows no signs of actually derailing much less getting of that mode of sexual gratification.

    The Rockets have a gig ? Nah , McHale isn’t the answer for what ails that organization . Not even a suppository could help the Rockets out of their funk !

    tophatal …………..

  17. Chris

    The play of the vets on this Mavericks team could well be the determining factor as to the outcome of these NBA Finals .

    But I get the feeling that outcome could be the same as before when these two very same teams met in 2006 with an emphatic 4-2 series win for the Heat .

    Too many retreads floating around the NBA when it comes to coaching. I mean what does it say ……… when even Larry Brown still shows an interest in returning to the NBA as a coach ?

    tophatal ……………

  18. Chris

    Have you seen pics of Dolan and his family ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Phill’ll continue to tap Jeanie Buss’ ass ’til the basketball gods call him to come and coach their team .

    It would appear that Ed Rife . the owner of the tattoo parlor in Columbus Ohio was offering a great deal more than just simple tattoos ? Money laundering , sale of illicit narcotics and if you should want I’ve no doubt he could provide a hit-man at the right price ! He’s just been indicted on a litany of charges by the Feds ! And some thought that this was simply a misstep by Tressel ? Lou Holtz on ESPN pled passionately saying that the NCAA shouldn’t be too heavy on Tressel because of his actions because he’s still a man of honesty and integrity . Is he fu_king kidding ? Tressel has repeatedly lied to everyone with the exception of the FBI . Because he knew that if they got involved his a#s would be grass .

    tophatal ………………

  19. Chris

    Yeah the Heat roster overall is a veteran team of sorts as are the Mavs . But we all know what Riles’ philosophy is when it comes to coaching don’t we ? He wants veterans over youth as that has been his mantra as a coach over the course of his career. And it’s what he’s passed on to Spoelstra .

    The chic in this pic next to Dolan I assume is a family member ?

    tophatal …………………

  20. Al…

    I’m looking forward to a great series.

    I predict home court might not mean much in this series, which’d be a good thing for Dallas.

    I can see them going into Miami and taking one of the first two games.

  21. You’re right, Al.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the AD is forced to step down either.

    I mean, this all happened under his watch, didn’t it?

  22. Chris

    Stepn-Fetchit should step down along with Gee as well . Their handling of this mess has bordered on being nonsensical if not downright idiotic . Now you’ve got the tattoo parlor owner Ed Rife indicted on a litany of charges by the Feds .

    This mess got worse the moment the team’s former WR Ray Small granted that OTL interview on ESPN and made the comment that he’ s the only one who sold memorabilia but his interview with the student paper was contrary to that even though he didn’t name names .

    Those car dealers in Columbus had better hope that the state AG or the Justice Dept doesn’t come calling as to them falsifying sales records concerning the car leases or alleged sales that took place .

    tophatal ……….

  23. Chris

    Pryor’s ride (2011 Nissan 350Z) is bangin’ funny the school is now said to be conducting an investigation into how he obtained the vehicle . How comes last year when he was riding ’round in a 2010 Range Rover OSU never got suspicious ?

    Reggie Bush and Cam Newton must both be laughing their ass off at this moment in time ! I know I am ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Oops shade of 2006 after last night’s lopsided victory by the Heat don’t you think ?

    This series could be over before it’s actually started !

    tophatal ………..

  24. I don’t know that Bush and Newton are laughing their asses off but let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me if they all became real goods friends.

    Miami looked like they had too much for Dallas last night, Al, as if they could turn it on at any second and there was nothing Dallas could do about it.

    Dirk’s ailing finger does not bode well for Cuban’s bunch moving forward. We’ll see what happens in Games Two and Three. As they say, it’s not a series until someone loses on their home floor.

  25. Chris

    Cam and Reggie are most definitely laughing . And I’d dare say that a large part of the auto dealers in and around the greater Columbus are sh_#ting bricks . The state’s attorney general is now said to be considering investigating the sales and leases that took place between them and the school . God forbid that the Justice Dept gets involved also and further widen the scope of their investigation after the arrest of the tattoo parlor owner Ed Rift .

    Pryor is now under investigation by the school concerning his purchase of a 2011 Nissan 350Z that’s been tricked out with all the works.

    The team’s former WR Ray Small let the cat out of the bag and opened up a can or worms for everyone to now feast on in his ESPN Outside The Lines interview even though he recanted his statement . What he said with a college campus journalist however made it clear that he wasn’t the only one on the team selling a great deal more than memorabilia .

    So Shaq Fu Daddy retires ? Six degrees of separation between he and Flava Flav as Shaq is now knockin’ boots with Flav’s ex ….. reality star Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander ? Have you seen the “booty ” on that ?

    Let me know what you think ?

    tophatal …………..

  26. Chris

    This series is could become reminiscent of the events that took place in 2006 but the resultant ending will be a sweep .

    I’m going to be throwing up a piece on the Gators and Muschamp’s ascent as Meyer’s successor .

    tophatal ……….

  27. Al…

    There’s so many wrong parties involved in this Buckeye scandal, it’s laughable.

    But seriously, what do car dealers have to lose by giving kids rides? They get their names in the paper and their 15 minutes of fame.

    Are faithful Buckeye fans going to boycott their dealership because they gave a player a car they weren’t supposed to?

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