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Rick Carlisle: 'They were just more aggressive'

DALLAS -- Persistent is probably Rick Carlisle's favorite word, but aggressive ranks pretty high in the coach's vocabulary.

He used it often after Game 2, but he was describing Oklahoma City's effort.

"They were just more aggressive," Carlisle said. "They were more aggresive defensively and they attacked harder offensively. They took it personally and they responded well. Now we're going to have to respond."

Carlisle will get no argument in the Mavs' locker room. To a man, the Mavs were disappointed that they didn't display the edge they had while sweeping the Lakers.

"They wanted it more and they came out swinging," Dirk Nowitzki said of the Thunder. "They deserved to win."

The Mavs' lack of aggression has been especially apparent on defense and during scrambles for loose balls.

According to the Dallas coaches' count, the Thunder have a 23-17 advantage in loose balls in the series, which has led to a 32-13 scoring edge.

And the Mavs, who didn't allow a 100-point game in the first two rounds, have given up 112 and 106 in this series. They are embarrassed that OKC made 55.7 percent of its shots from the floor Thursday night.

The Mavs will certainly tweak some things strategically to try to get more stops against the athletic, skilled OKC squad. But if they don't amp up their aggression, adjustments won't matter.

"I just think we’re not as aggressive as we’ve been in the other series," said Jason Terry, who has his hands full trying to contain James Harden. "If you’ve watched us defensively, we’re up and in guys. That’s what got us where we’re at. These guys have got a lot of space.

"I know for me particularly, watching the film at halftime, I’m so far off this guy that he’s got room to do whatever he wants. I know I’m going to make the adjustment. I don’t know what everybody else is going to do, but I’m pretty sure what they’re going to do and we’re going to be up a little closer."