The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks playoff series it turning into the type of rivalry Oklahomans and Texans have enjoyed for many years in the annual fall meeting between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns football teams.
There is a saying that "everything is bigger in Texas." The problem Oklahomans have is that the largest state in the continental 48 can't seem to understand a boundary established in 1819 and keeps wanting to get bigger at the Sooner State's expense. The U.S. Supreme court has ruled on the matter but Texas keeps pushing, and when they push too far, Oklahoma pushes back.
Apparently the mentality that spread from the political arena to the gridiron has now begun to influence tempers at the NBA level and someone's feelings are hurting.
First, some recent history... let's go to the tape.
January 13, 2016
April 18th, 2016
See what I mean about those Texans? They still don't know the law or the meaning of the word boundary and you either let yourself get run over, or you fight back.
April 20th, 2016
Friday it was reported that the NBA had assessed Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant a retroactive technical for "taunting" in the 3rd quarter of the Thunder's game 3 match-up with the Mavericks. NewsOK's Berry Tramel reports that the technical was not for taunting, but rather for an elbow Durant threw at Dallas's Salah Mejri just moments before the Steven Adams and Raymond Felton scuffle seen above.
Here's the Durant elbow on Mejri that Carlisle was angry about https://t.co/p9zx3RXrmL— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 22, 2016
Yes sir... that was a good one.
Maverick coach Rick Carlisle took exception to KD's actions and as it turns out, he is upset about the physical nature of the entire series. He is calling the Thunder dirty players and complaining to anyone that will listen. This shouldn't come as a surprise I suppose as Tramel reminds us that this is nothing new. The Mav Skipper has a history of whining about officiating even when the calls are going in his team's favor.
Those Texans... nothing is ever enough.
The funny part is that Carlisle apparently has no issue with one of "his" players going for an opponent's throat, an act that authorities call "assault and battery" btw, as long as Mark Cuban is signing that player's paycheck.
I can completely empathize with Carlisle's complaint. Poor kid, I mean come now, everyone knows the Mavericks are a team consisting of nothing but angels and choir boys. Right? Tyson Chandler was the poster boy for fair play and just look at these guys:
Oops, my bad.... that was Villanueva before he saw the errors of his ways and became a Maverick....here we go....
Nope, that's not it, ok, now I found it now:
If you didn't listen to those choir boys sing, go back. Trust me. Their song, much like Carlisle's complaints, will bring tears (of mirth) to your eye as you think how ironic it is for him to point a finger at any team and call them out for playing underhanded.
Tramel's final words:
So the series resumes Saturday night with the Thunder's agitation and the Mavs' gamesmanship. A certain segment of Loud City believes the NBA's 450 players are split between 435 thugs and 15 angels, and Heaven is on Reno Avenue, just across the tracks from Bricktown.
But truth is, the Thunder does push the limits of acceptable aggression. Adams sometimes still plays rugby in the paint. Ibaka can foul hard in five languages. Durant can slip from Mr. Clean to Mr. Mean. Andre Roberson, who seems a man of peace, will run over Dirk Nowitzki even if Dirk and Roberson's dad played ball together in Germany. Russell Westbrook never met a foe he didn't hate.
The Thunder has figured out that it's a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room. It's as much fight as game. Rick Carlisle believes his playoff foe is a bunch of bullies? Thank you, say the Thunder.
I concur ....the Thunder aren't polishing any halos, nor should they. I thoroughly enjoyed it when Roberson freight trained his Daddy's ex-teammate and knocked him flat on his arse because I can honestly say I did not question for one moment whether is was a Nowitzki flop or not.
Funny, I don't seem to recall hearing Donovan boo hoo-ing to the press when J.J. Barea tried to jerk Westbrook off his feet just prior to the Villanueva throat incident in January. Never heard Billy complain about that throat thing either. Devon Harris's hard foul on the Westbrook lay-up late in game 3? Nada, not a peep. Why?
Because this is a big boys' league and in the big boys' leagues you either suck it up or you join a knitting club. Fortunately for him, Carlisle needn't worry overly much. By the looks of things his ordeal should be over by Monday and he can begin the summer pilgrimage to whatever place of zen he so chooses and gossip to all the old ladies about how unfairly he was treated.
As far as the KD elbow goes? The Roberson foul? I get it, sometimes when Texas crowds too much an Oklahoma boy has to Thunder up and knock him on his butt.
Perhaps they could have exercised some restraint, but at least the boys were picking on someone their own size and I didn't see St. Carlisle chastising Barea for the shoulder block he laid on Russell that should have been ruled flagrant just seconds before the KD elbow.
The Oklahoma/Texas feud has been this way for almost 200 years and I don't see it changing any time soon much less in the next 72 hours, so spare us the sob story Coach or provide some hip boots to help wade through the BS.