Rhetoric Cools Ahead Of Game 4

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

No more gas on the fire ahead of tonight’s Game 4 between the Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks, today’s shootarounds were pretty calm.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, after basically calling Kevin Durant a dirty player yesterday, today said he is “probably as good of a scorer as we will ever see in this league.”

Here's the rest of what the Mavs coach said today after the Dallas shootaround (audio assist from DGontheRadio).

And Durant, though he did say he was surprised Carlisle singled him out in his comments yesterday, shrugged them off today.

“That’s what he’s supposed to do, come after the leader.”

Carlisle had taken exception to Durant elbowing Mavs center Salah Mejri while attempting to box out on a free throw attempt. Durant was assessed a rare after-the-fact technical by the NBA for what it called “physical taunting.”

Here’s how Durant explained what happened. (Another audio assist from @DGonthe Radio)

“I was trying to box out and get a rebound,” he said. “And some stuff happened. That’s part of the game. I’m not trying to hurt anybody. That’s not my game. I’m out there to play basketball. They’re not trying to hurt me or our team, Some stuff happened, that’s part of the game.”

Durant went on to say this series really hasn’t been any more or less physical than what he’s seen in most any other playoff series.

“It’s about the same. Both team, like I said, that’s what they do. They sit in the paint, they elbow you, legally, not illegally, they check you up a little bit when you’re going through the lane. They play physical. That’s how basketball is played this time of year. So it’s nothing different and nothing we need to be concerned about and nothing the refs or our coaches need to be concerned about. Just play the game.”

You can bet however that tonight’s officiating crew might be paying a little more close attention to what’s happening under the rim or anywhere else for that matter, to make sure things stay under control.

Tipoff tonight is set for 7:10 and you can see the game on either Fox Sports Oklahoma or ESPN.