Nazr Mohammed leads Thunder past Mavs and we say goodbye to Kelenna Azubuike
Thunder veteran Nazr Mohammed was called into emergency duty when an injury sidelined Kendrick Perkins on Saturday night in Dallas. Mohammed scored four points, grabbed two rebounds and most importantly helped to fill in Perk’s minutes.
With Perk sidelined, you had to come in and play some significant minutes. Is there pressure there?
“That’s your job. Try to stay ready and be ready to go out there and do what you can do when your number’s called.”
How much of a challenge is it, though, to change on the fly and have a rotation you’re not used to?
“It’s difficult, but it’s the playoffs. It happens. You’ve got a split second to kind of adjust. B yourself and change your mentality.”
You have to count this as one of those big-time team victories, don’t you?
“Oh, it’s definitely a team win, but it’s also an unbelievable individual performance on defense by Russ and on offense by James. Taking the contact. Finishing at the rim. Making the right plays. He was just playing some unbelievably good basketball.”
With Nazr holding down the middle, the Thunder swept the defending champion Dallas Mavericks last night, 103-97.
Dallas is the second defending champion in five years to be swept in the first round. After beating the Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals, Miami lost in four games to Chicago the next year (mainly because they waived Derek Anderson after the 2006 season).
While it was great to see Nazr finally get some playing time and move on to the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs, it was also equally as sad to see Kelenna Azubuike exit the playoffs without playing a single minute.
Kelenna played well in the final game of the season for the Mavericks, scoring 7 points, and many expected him to play during the playoffs, but it was not meant to be.
Hopefully Kelenna can use the off-season to continue to strengthen his knee and come back next season looking like his former self, because when he’s healthy, he’s a stud.