Oklahoma City Thunder (21-17, 10-8 road) vs. Dallas Mavericks (25-13, 12-7 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.2 (21st), Mavs – 107.8 (14th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.6 (6th), Mavs – 104.8 (11th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.3 (17th), Mavs – 92.1 (19th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
Let’s all just take a minute to forget about Wednesday night.
You’re right. I can’t get over it either. But that doesn’t matter. All that does, is that the team is over it. There can’t be any lingering hangover from that killer, brutal, heart-wrenching loss if Oklahoma City has any plans of beating Dallas tonight.
It’s not going to be easy. Dallas is good and they’re really good at home. Beating the Spurs would have made this game slightly more expendable, but still, the world doesn’t end with a loss. But I wouldn’t rule it out. Coming off such a tough loss, this team has the makeup and mentality to respond. Remember what happened after the gut-busting loss in L.A.? The Thunder turned around and surprised us all by beating the near-beatable Suns in Phoenix. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment, but… well, I just think this group is going to respond.
Dallas coming in: Speaking of hungry for a win, the Mavericks have lost two straight, both at home. So I’m sure they’d be quite upset if that extended to three. Not a wonderful sign for the Thunder. The Mavs are 5-5 in their last 10 and just lost to the Lakers Wednesday night.
In the last meeting, which Dallas won 100-86, the Mavericks basically threw everything at Kevin Durant. KD went 4-18 from the field for 12 points in his worst game of the season. The Mavs doubled from the wings, Shawn Marion was very good at pressuring the ball and Durant never could put the ball on the floor. That matchup is a major key again.
Russell Westbrook should have a leg up on Jason Kidd, because of quickness, but Kidd can always make a difference. And of course, OKC won’t have any match for Dirk. Last time he scored 35 on 13-18 shooting and basically beat the Thunder by himself. I actually thought KD and Serge Ibaka defended Dirk the best, but it’ll be a tall task for Jeff Green and Nick Collison.
The Maverick bench is one of the best with Jason Terry carrying the load, but OKC should be able to match it with James Harden, Collison and Eric Maynor. The benches will probably be a huge part in deciding this one.
It’s a big game for both teams. Both need a win and both want to wash a game out of their mouths. I’m just expecting the Thunder to have taken Wednesday’s loss as extra motivation for this one. But keep those hopes low, or you might let this game ruin your weekend.
Tip at 7:30 CST. Go Rebound (in more than one way amirite?).