If you think the Mavericks are sitting in a good spot after winning Game 1, the Thunder’s history indicates they should not feel comfortable in the slightest.
Oklahoma City is 25-6 this season in games coming after a loss. That includes 4-0 in the games following a loss in the playoffs.
“It’s great,’’ said Kendrick Perkins. “It means it takes a great mental focus and we take pride in (it). One thing about it, you could tell after the game that guys were mad. So you’re going to see a different Thunder team tonight.
“We’re going to play our game for four quarters. We have to put together 48 minutes of team basketball.’’
The Thunder players are of the opinion that they only played the first 12 minutes that way in Game 1.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, are rolling with seven consecutive victories in the playoffs. But they also know they have no reason to feel like they took control of anything after Game 1 because they didn’t play the
kind of defense they expect out of themselves. Tyson Chandler blamed the nine-day break between games.
“We were rusty out there – our communication, our movement, our stance,’’ said Chandler. “We did our job as far as scoring. But we never stopped them. We traded baskets with them and that’s something we can’t do tonight. We got to keep them in the low 90s and high 80s.’’
Asked if coach Rick Carlisle was miffed about the lack of consistent, aggressive defense, Chandler said: “He was upset about it. And he should have been. But it was eight days off and it was tough for us being out there communicating and being together and being on a string, something we were in a rhythm with before. Our timing was off. I expect us to have a better outing tonight.
“Whenever you can win a game and you didn’t feel like you played to your best, it’s always a great thing because you can get out there and make a lot of adjustments.’’