Blog Entry

Mavs-Thunder series grades

Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:14 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 12:21 pm
Posted by Royce Young

The Mavericks moved on to the NBA Finals with a five-game series win over the Thunder, topping OKC in the clincher 100-96. Let's grade.


Dirk Nowitzki: What can you possibly say about Dirk? The whole time I watched him drop jumpers and impossible leaners I thought, "This is just Dirk's time." His close to Game 4 was heroic and the clutch 3 he drilled in Game 5 won his team the series. He could not have been more fantastic and this was with defense from Nick Collison that almost everyone could agree was outstanding. Dirk was on another level in the Western Finals. And it's going to have to continue for him to reach his goal. Grade: A++

Jason Kidd: His numbers won't blow you away (9.6 ppg, 8.6 apg) but he managed the Mavs offense masterfully and played pretty solid defense on both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Kidd, at 38, was ready for every challenge thrown his way and stepped up in big moments for Dallas. He hit big shots, made extra passes, drove to the basket, created looks -- he was wonderful. And not to mention his all-world hands that knocked away countless passes and stripped the Thunder a number of times. He steal of Westbrook in Game 4 really might've been the playof the series. Grade: A

Rick Carlisle: I don't think anyone can necessarily cite any big move Carlisle made or any brilliant adjustment. But that's the thing -- he let his team be his team. He knew their strengths, their weaknesses. And he made sure they played their game. He did make a tweak in the way the Mavs defended Durant sending some doubles at him high, but really, Carlisle managed his rotations well, matched up against the Thunder and made Scott Brooks really rack his brain to make a move. Grade: A-

Crunch time execution: In the fourth quarter in this series, the Thunder actually outscored the Mavs 133-130. I find that very interesting. But in those last six minutes of the game, things changed. In Game 4, Dallas outscored the Thunder 17-2. In Game 5, 17-6. The Mavs knew how to finish, the Thunder didn't. Grade: A+


Kevin Durant: I don't think anyone would say that Durant had an impressive series. He struggled at times getting looks, making shots and staying involved. But he was the entire focus of the Dallas defense as the Mavs doubled and locked down on him the entire series. He averaged 28.0 ppg on 43 percent shooting which is pretty impressive considering what the Mavs threw at him. He lacked a bit in the biggest moments in Games 4 and 5 though, which is something he'll be thinking about the next six months. Grade: B+

Russell Westbrook: Another series, another Russell Westbrook debate. Whether you like his style of point guard play or not, Westbrook was completely vital to OKC's success. His relentless attacking in Game 5 nearly was enough to push the Thunder to a sixth game. He averaged 23.6 ppg and 4.8 apg, but his turnovers (4.8 per game) were an issue. Grade: B

James Harden: I think the best player on the floor in Game 5 -- Dirk included -- was James Harden. The way he ran the pick-and-roll, created shots, made shots and basically dominated the game was something that should have Thunder fans giddy about next season. He was a bit inconsistent though as he only had two truly great games and three average ones. Consistency is the key for the bearded one. Grade: B-

Nick Collison: His numbers never impress you and his plus-minus wasn't even all that stellar in this series. But the work he put in against Dirk was outstanding. And that's even with Dirk having a series for the ages. That should just tell you how good Dirk was. But Collison worked like crazy, never gave an inch and challenged Dirk the entire way. He was OKC's most valuable player against the Grizzlies and really may deserve my made up one for the Thunder in this postseason. Grade: A+

Scott Brooks: A bumpy series for the Thunder's young coach. He was praised for his bold move to sit Westbrook in the fourth quarter of Game 2. He made another slick decision going super small in Game 5, which OKC almost rode to victory. But the little things seemed to sneak up on Brooks. He missed a couple good opportunities to go offense-for-defense at times. The team failed to execute plays out of timeouts. Of course the late-game execution was bad. He was stubborn with his starting five which may or may not have cost the Thunder this series. Brooks is a good coach. He fits this Thunder team well. But like the young team, he was brilliant at times and didn't quite cut it at other moments. Grade: C+

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2011 2:10 pm

Mavs-Thunder series grades

'I'm disappointed Royce Young didn't give another rah rah Chokelahoma "City" Blunder op piece.  I'm sure after he's done with his harvest over the summer, he'll have some more homer crap to feed CBS Sports.  Please, don't change a thing.'

As one of the primary coverers of the Thunder, the fact that Royce Young is always coming form a Thunder point of view should come as no surprise.  

As far as calling the Thunder chokers, look at the facts, The Thunder lost in the WCF 2 years after having a losing season.  This team will improve and not have these problems late in games. But a I see you are a fan of other Seattle teams so I'm sure you are still riding the Sonic fan hater of the Thunder bandwagon.  Get over it man.  I was a Sonic fan and it sucks that Seattle no longer has a team, but to let that bias your view of a really good young team is pathetic.

Check out these fans:


Hate Boston&LA
Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: May 26, 2011 11:19 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 9:43 am

Mavs-Thunder series grades

I'm disappointed Royce Young didn't give another rah rah Chokelahoma "City" Blunder op piece.  I'm sure after he's done with his harvest over the summer, he'll have some more homer crap to feed CBS Sports.  Please, don't change a thing.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or