DALLAS – If Oklahoma City is savoring the sweet taste of revenge, the Thunder's players aren’t acknowledging it publicly.
Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins claim that payback hasn’t been on their minds this series despite the Mavericks dismissing the Thunder in five games during last season’s West finals. OKC hopes to complete a sweep of the Mavs on Saturday night, but the Thunder has much bigger goals.
“I don’t really think about it,” Perkins said. “They were playing at a high level last year, and it was a totally different team. You know, I don’t really look at it like that. At the end of the day, it’s just the first round. You just think about advancing.”
The savvy, old Mavs schooled OKC’s kids in crunch time last year. Game 4, when the Mavs erased a 15-point deficit in the final 4:48 of regulation en route to an overtime win, was an especially excruciating experience for the young Thunder.
But Durant can put a positive spin on that painful experience after the Thunder opened the series with two close wins in OKC and blew the Mavs out in Dallas to put the defending champs in danger of being broomed out of the playoffs.
“That was a great learning experience for us, even though it was tough to go through,” Durant said. “It helped us out. We’re just looking forward to getting better and growing. Dallas is a really, really tough team and we respect them a lot.
“We really weren’t worried about revenge. We were just worried about how we were going to win the series.”