SI.com: Mavs finish off Thunder for NBA Finals berth; Bulls must beat Heat
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki takes it to the hole Wednesday with four Thunder players in the lane. Nowitzki finished with 26 points.
May 26th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

SI.com: Mavs finish off Thunder for NBA Finals berth; Bulls must beat Heat

Led by Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks sealed the deal and sent the Thunder packing Wednesday night with a 100-96 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Though Oklahoma City won't get a shot at the title, it certainly didn't go down without a fight. As SI.com's Chris Mannix explains, the Thunder fought to a three-point lead going into halftime but ultimately were outmatched by a better, more experienced Dallas squad.

"Oklahoma City will learn from this experience," Mannix writes. "(Kevin) Durant will learn how to play through contact, how to not let players push him off his spot. (Kendrick) Perkins will shed 15 pounds and regain the mobility he lost dealing with multiple knee injuries. Serge Ibaka will take the lessons learned from defending Nowitzki, and Zach Randolph in the conference semis, and come back in the fall a better player. (James) Harden will be a year older, a year wiser and that syrupy shooting stroke of his isn't going anywhere."

Russell Westbrook will also have the opportunity to grow after receiving the most criticism for his lackluster performance during the playoffs, according to Mannix. Westbrook's youth and inexperience worked against him throughout the conference finals, but with time he could be an asset to the Thunder, Mannix writes.

Up Thursday night

Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat (8:30 ET) - It's do or die for the Chicago Bulls. Trailing the Heat 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls will need a win at home Thursday night to keep their championship hopes alive.

By the numbers

19 - Number of innings played between the Reds and Phillies on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Ultimately, the Phillies edged out Cincinnati 5-4.

$18 million - Reported approximate pay day for new Lakers coach Mike Brown. The contract spans four years. SI.com's Sam Amick breaks down the hire.

114 - Seed of the Netherlands' Arantxa Rus, who stunned second-seeded Kim Clijsters on Thursday in the French Open.

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Filed under: Baseball • Basketball • NBA • Oklahoma • Sports • Tennis • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Ellis

    I predict the Bulls will get this one. After that I'm not too sure.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TACO JOE

    I hope they have Tacos at the game ! mmmmmmmm tacos.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jrod13206

    Okc will win it all next year. If they could only add an offensive bigman like a lamar odom to come off the bench.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stewart Anderson

    Did your team lose? Isn't this supposed to be about the team that won? How biased can you be?

    May 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mynameisjessica

    No, I disagree with the fact that bulls must win the game. Ha, heat just beat all of you. :p

    May 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cnn Desk

    The Anthonys wasted millions of taxpayer dollars by lying to LE and collected thousands of dollars in donations, trips for media appearances where they were wined, dined and catered to at hotels the white trash never would have stayed in before. I actually wondered if they all plotted this in order to get all the money they could to bail themselves out of the financial problems they were having.

    LE could have been working on many other crimes and the Anthonys should be prosecuted to the fullest extent and made to REPAY every cent they collected under false pretenses. Why are they still living in that house? Only because someone bailed them out when they were about to be foreclosed. Who is paying all their legal bills?

    Nancy Grace is sickening the way she favors them and talks about all the toys, etc. that Caylee had. That means nothing and Nancy should stfu about her twins.

    Greta Von Susteran did an excellent interview with the Anthonys in their home and it was obvious that Cindy was prompting George what to say about the gas cans being found in Casey’s trunk. He almost slipped and said Caylee was in the trunk which would explain why Casey didn’t want him to get the tool he needed (if anything at all about that story is even true). Everything each of the Anthonys has said to date is a possible lie and I don’t think they would suddenly start telling the truth simply because they are under oath. They have no respect for the law or the truth.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ellis

    Th CNN Desk poster has excellent valid points. Too bad he can't choose a better S/N. True buddy, people will lie under oath. Too many good points to write about. Ta ta

    May 27, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |