OKC Thunder (16-4, 8-3 road) at Dallas Mavericks (14-8, 9-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.9 (3rd), Mavericks– 103.2 (14th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.2 (14th), Mavericks – 98.7 (4th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (7th), Mavericks – 91.4 (16th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
The Thunder travel south of the Red River for a second time this season, with the last trip resulting in Oklahoma City’s first loss of the season. The Thunder got revenge in the name of a Kevin Durant buzzer-beater, but it took that for OKC to escape an 0-2 start to the season against Dallas.
The Thunder are in a stretch of difficult games, most of which are on the road. It was a bad start Monday in Los Angeles, so coming out of the gates with good focus and intensity will be key in Dallas. The game was assuredly be close, so the Thunder will need to execute.
Dallas coming in: The Mavs beat the Suns Monday night.
Three Big Things
1. Bulletin board material. The Mavs have kind of been piling up the talk on the Thunder. Jason Terry said after the first game that the Thunder were the Mavs’ “little brother” and Dirk recently said there wasn’t a team in the West he was scared of. You can be sure the Thunder have taken notice of that stuff.
2. No Thabo. The Thunder are 0-2 without him this season, but the bigger question is, where does Scott Brooks go? Does he start Harden again or look another direction to try and maintain the rotation? It’s not so much about Thabo starting as it is about having a good offensive balance on the floor to begin the game.
3. Bouncing back. The last time the Thunder played, they were baptized by Blake Griffin and a 12-0 run that happened in like three seconds and basically lost them the game. The Thunder played maybe one of their worst games of the season and definitely the worst one defensively. OKC needs to bounce back and play well, otherwise the gripes will just get louder and more ridiculous.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go North Siders.