Nowitzki gets 40 in Tuesday's 112-105 win over Oklahoma City
Marcus Henry | 5/25/2011, 9:23 a.m.
If determination were a tangible trait, you'd see it written all over the faces of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
These two old pros are showing the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder how to get things done. Nowitzki (40 points) and Kidd (17 points, 7 assists, 4 steals) were brilliant in Dallas' 112-105 overtime win in Game 4 win over the Thunder on Monday.
More important than the actual win was the manner in which Dallas accomplished it. The Mavericks trailed by 15 with a little over five minutes left in regulation.
How does an older team muster the energy to overcome that deficit against a youthful team like the Thunder? Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle attributed his team's resolve under pressure to the "greatness" of his players.
"Everybody asks questions about the age and all that other stuff," Carlisle told reporters. "But the thing I'd say to anybody is, 'Never underestimate greatness'."
Both Nowitzki and Kidd have seen just about everything the NBA has to offer. You can throw super sixth man Jason Terry into that veteran mix, too. The 33-year-old dropped 20 on Tuesday night. Terry had 24 in Dallas' win in Game 1 and 32 in the Mavericks series-clinching win against the Lakers.
Having three players with that type of experience and hunger -none of them has a ring- could be what finally brings the Mavericks a title. Professional sports have always been considered a young man's game. But it still takes know-how, experience and guile to get to the top.
The Mavericks have that as opposed to the Thunder, who have relied on the young legs and shooting of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Both have struggled at times. Nowitzki and Kidd have had their struggles at times, too. But the difference is veteran players can find a way to effect a game even when they can't shoot. Durant and Westbrook shot a combined 16 for-44 from the field in Game 4.
That won't get it done against the old folks.