DALLAS -- In 11 previous postseasons, Dirk Nowitzki has never been the victim of the broom.
That streak could end Saturday night if the Dallas Mavericks don't find a way to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4. If a sweep happens, Thunder guard Derek Fisher warned the Mavs to be prepared for it to sting beyond this summer.
"Having been there before, yes, and I don’t know if it only lasts for one summer," Fisher said Friday. "You just never forget not finding a way to win a game in a playoff series."
Fisher said he still thinks about last season's sweep with the Lakers at the hands of a Mavs team that played brilliantly in that series, but looks quite a bit different today.
"It’s tough to compare teams on a year to year basis, but I think it speaks to how you obviously need your stars to be stars," Fisher said. "You need Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, guys that have been All-Stars, Jason Kidd’s a Hall of Famer, you need those guys to be who they are, and I think by and large they have been. But there’s no way to overstate the importance of those other guys, the importance of guys that are willing to sacrifice shots and playing time and individual success for what’s best for the team.
"So when you think about Tyson Chandler, a guy like a Deshawn Stevenson who added toughness and 3-point shooting last year, J.J. Barea, Peja [Stojakovic] being a veteran guy that had been on successful teams before, you throw all that in the pie, those are key guys to miss. When you’re trying to replace the type of guys they lost last season and then unfortunately for a guy I care about, Lamar Odom, having that situation going on throughout the year, I think it’s been tougher for them to find the type of chemistry and cohesiveness they had last season, this season."
Fisher said even with the 3-0 lead, he's not discounting a last-stand by the defending champs.
"They still have championship DNA, and until this thing is over one way or another I’m not going to assume that these guys are ready to ride into the sunset," Fisher said. "We’re going to have to eliminate this team. They’re not going to hand us advancing to the next round."