Okla. City Thunder (46-28, 22-15 road) at Dallas Mavericks (50-26, 26-12 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.6 (14th), Mavs – 108.6 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.6 (7th), Mavs – 106.5 (12th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.8 (14th), Mavs – 92.4 (15th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
You know what I like about setting arbitrary goals for the Thunder when the have a stretch of games? When they accomplish the set goal with games still to play, it makes me feel like something great has happened.
But there’s a special magnitude to this game. Not only is it a massive in terms of the Western Conference playoff seeding, but the Thunder could CLINCH A PLAYOFF SPOT. That still hasn’t set in. (By the way: A little bird has mentioned to me that IF the Thunder wins tonight, there could be a small “greet the team” thing later this evening. So stayed tuned on that.)
Dallas coming in: Dallas last played Thursday at home against Orlando, losing. Before that, Dallas won three straight. At home, the Mavs are 26-12 at home and 5-5 in their last 10.
I honestly don’t have a ton to say here. We’ve seen the Mavs a good amount already and everyone knows what they intend to do. Get Dirk a mismatch in a scoring area, find open shooters on drive and kicks and play fairly sound defense. If anyone on the Thunder roster plays Dirk “well,” it’s Serge Ibaka. He’s athletic, long and is a frustrating type of defender that pokes and pushes constantly. Jeff Green actually did a pretty good job though last time too.
Russell Westbrook has played pretty excellent against Jason Kidd, as he does against the less fast, veteran point guard. But at the same time, Kidd has done well against Russ because he can hit an open 3 and because he’s Jason Freaking Kidd.
Shawn Marion has been one of the best defenders on Kevin Durant, and it helps that Dallas is pretty creative with trying to get the ball out of KD’s hands. This is the type of game that Thabo has to lock down on Caron Butler, James Harden needs to score off the bench and Nenad Krstic and Nick Collison need to do relatively well keeping Brendan Haywood off the glass. In other words, everyone needs to play fairly excellent.
We all can feel it and we all know this could be a special night. But regardless, this was a successful road trip already. Of course, you always want to win but I don’t think I’d be that upset with a loss. I mean, Dallas is pretty good. But hey, I think I’d be lying if I said I thought OKC would win in Boston. So I guess, ANY-THING IS POSSIBULLLL!!!
Tip at 7:30 CDT. Go Clinch.