Thunder (13-44, 3-24 road) at Dallas Mavericks (34-23, 20-8 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:30 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 103.6 (27th), Mavericks: 108.9 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 110.3 (24rd), Mavericks: 107.2 (13th)
Pace: Thunder: 94.0 (7th), Mavericks: 92.0 (14th)
Is it weird that I still get really excited about basically every Thunder game despite the team being 31 games under .500? That’s weird right? I guess it’s because the team is darn fun to watch, win or lose. So that’s a good thing. Sort of.
But the Thunder come into tonight’s game against Dallas on a six-game skid (seven in a row on the road), while the Mavs have been playing well lately winning 9 of 13 as they’re entrenched in a battle for the West’s eighth spot. So Dallas shouldn’t be taking OKC lightly at all tonight. Shouldn’t.
The biggest problem during this six-game losing streak is that the Thunder’s giving up 115.6 points a game. The Thunder have surrendered 100 points or more in 11 of their past 12 games. That’s, uh, poor defense. And Dallas scores the ball pretty well. So let’s hope OKC scores it back.
Last time these two locked up, Dirk dropped 46 and Jason Terry added 28, but other than that, the next highest Maverick was Jason Kidd with eight. But the 103-99 loss in Dallas was kind of a turning point in getting the team into a competitive mindset. The team was 2-21 going into that game and had had trouble staying in games. But in Dallas that night, OKC led for much of the game despite Dirk scoring basically at will.
And that will likely be another problem for the Thunder tonight. There’s just not anyone that matches well with Dirk. I honestly think KD might be the best match there just because his length may be able to bother Dirk’s impossible falling jumper. But Dirk is kind of a problem for everybody in that sense because he’s one of the most unique offensive players in the league. So OKC’s just going to have to suck it up and deal with him getting his.
I’m pumped to watch Thabo match up with Josh Howard tonight too. We all desperately want Thabo to be the defensive stopper he’s supposed to be and against Kobe he did a nice job. And Howard is another tough cover (Howard scored 27 against Milwaukee two nights ago), so it will be key for Thabo to hold him in check.
Little known stat: In games that Kevin Durant is coming off of three or more days rest, he averages 31 points a game. So that’s good. And he’s going to need to have another typical Durant night to hold OKC in this one on the road. The Mavs are tough at home and the Thunder’s worse on the road. But maybe Dallas comes out asleep for some unknown reason. Regardless, for some reason I’m excited about it and I’ll be watching.
Tip is at 7:30 CST. Go Thabo.