OKLAHOMA CITY – Mavericks forward Shawn Marion couldn’t have been in a better position to defend Kevin Durant‘s last shot Saturday night.
“I was all over him. He couldn’t even get a look at the rim,” Marion said. “He just threw it up there and got a nice little bounce and it went in.”
It won’t make the Matrix feel any better today, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is taking responsibility for Durant’s two-bounce game-winner with 1.5 seconds to play in Game 1 of this first round series.
“Durant made a great shot,” Carlisle said. “The only other thing we could have done was double-teamed and got the ball out of his hands. And we should have done that, obviously, so that’s on me and I take responsibility for that.”
Durant played the hero at the end earlier this season, sinking a 28-footer to beat the Mavericks Dec. 29. But that one didn’t rescue the Thunder from a potentially losing home court advantage in a playoff series the way Saturday night’s dagger did.
“It was a great shot,” Thunder sixth man James Harden said. “It saved the game for us. I don’t think we played well … but he saved us at the end.”
If Carlisle has his way, there won’t be any more game-saving from the Thunder, the Mavericks let a late-game lead slip away.
“We made mistakes you can’t make down the stretch,” he said. “The last shot always gets magnified, but we made some uncharacteristic mistakes that we’re not going to make any more in this series. We can’t.”