By Cory J. Mageors, CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Four key plays created the complexion of Monday night’s Game 2 loss to the Thunder. Here they are in no order of importance or time sequence:

97-96 Mavs lead with :50 left on the clock and 2.6 on the shot clock for OKC

Jason Terry decides to jump in front of Durant on the inbounds pass and attempt to steal the ball away.

Love the aggression, those are the things the Mavericks did last season that made them so hard to beat in close games on their way to a title. Jason Kidd, Terry and Shawn Marion would all fly into passing lanes, take a risk and send the ball back down the court for another Mavs possession.

If Terry had been a second sooner on his break, he would have stolen it clean and nobody would be calling it the “stupidest foul ever,” as you know many of you did on Twitter.

Problem was, he wasn’t and he didn’t. Durant hits two free throws and gives OKC the lead.

98-97 Mavs trail with :30 left on the clock and Dirk stumbles into the lane

The bounce that some call lucky for Durant in Game 1, I call a shooter’s bounce, didn’t go for Dirk.
Shawn Marion even went up for it, but couldn’t touch it because it was in the cylinder.

When you’re good, you get the bounces. Dirk’s shooting percentage is the lowest it’s been since 98-99 at .457, he’s not getting the shooter’s bounce right now because he’s not as locked in as he was last year .517.

If he hadn’t stumbled, he wouldn’t have wasted about 10 seconds resetting and probably would have received the pass clean and scored on his way to the rim for a score. He did, he did, he didn’t and he didn’t.

97-96 Mavs trail with 1:13 left in the game Dirk fires up a wide-open three

Last year dirk attempted 168 three pointers and hit 40 percent. This year he’s shooting 36 percent from three with 212 attempts.

He’s not as good this year on the three, and has taken the most threes he’s shot since that 2007 first round exit season against the Warriors. Still, with the wide-open shot he had, it looked like he was warming up with Holger.

If it goes down, the Mavs go up 100-96, James Harden doesn’t get the rebound ultimately setting up the Jason Terry foul with :50 seconds left.

19-17 Mavs trail 5:03 left in the first quarter Dirk and Perkins called for Double Technicals

Dirk had Tyson Chandler to fight his battles last year. He didn’t have to worry about somebody getting under his skin, ie. Kendrick Perkins, because Chandler was so busy getting into the other team’s heads and winning the physical war in the paint.

Without Chandler, Nowitzki has nobody who has his back vocally, gives him a little of that swagger that, and allows him to focus solely on punishing the opponent on the offensive end.

When Perkins threw that punch, the team rallied until they gave up a nine-point run to end the first quarter. This team does not have the physical presence or face-the-challenge psyche they had last year with Chandler manning the middle.

While Dirk is and can be an elite scorer, he is exhausting himself on the defensive end, and has nobody to throw the punch for him.

The Thunder in turn can allow Perkins, Ibaka and Collison to pound on everybody while Durant, Westbrook and Harden spend all of their energy on making shots and getting to the basket.

(Copyright 2012 CBS Local – a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.)

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