Dallas Mavericks (9-3, 2-2 road) vs. OKC Thunder (9-5, 6-1 home)
Series: Series tied 1-1
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
Taking home court advantage in Game 2 was, um, important/huge/big/awesome. But it doesn’t mean as much if the Thunder don’t protect their floor. A loss means they have to pull one out in Dallas again, which could be a challenge.
And naturally, the Mavericks are one of best road teams in the league and beat the Lakers twice on their home floor. So there’s that. This will be difficult.
The will be adjustments to the adjustments and re-adjustments to those adjustments in this game. The Thunder will approach Dirk and the pick-and-roll a little differently because the Mavs are going to make a change in how they operate too. What’s scary is that the Maverick bench isn’t going to be held down again. Jason Terry isn’t going to score just eight points. J.J Barea can do better than only 11. So OKC is going to need Kevin Durant to do good things along with the Thunder bench stepping up big time.
And Russell Westbrook has to shake off all the manufactured controversy and outside voices and do what he does. He’s got to just play his game, as he likes to say.
I’ve been nothing but impressed but Westbrook’s response this entire postseason. Think about it. Despite every criticism and all the voices hitting him, he’s always said the right thing. Every. Time. For instance, today:
“It’s important for the team to play well,” he told reporters. “I think the problem is you guys are worried about how I’m playing and what my numbers look like instead of what our team is doing. My main focus is we’ve got this far because our team is doing well, not if I’m doing good or bad.”
Doubt Westbrook all you want, doubt his motives, doubt his mindset but the dude just wants to win. The Thunder need him in a big way tonight and they need to protect the home court they worked so hard to get. Game 3 is going to swing the series one way or the other, and with the Thunder holding the upper-hand, they need to capitalize.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go Basketball Team.