Dallas Mavericks (0-0) vs. OKC Thunder (0-0)
Final Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.8 (2nd), Mavericks– 103.3 (22nd)
Final Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (11th), Mavericks – 102.3 (8th)
Final Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (6th), Mavericks – 91.4 (13th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
Here we go.
Revenge, rematch, payback — whatever. The Thunder have another crack at the Mavs, sure, but it’s not about the opponent. It’s about the playoffs. It’s about playing to your potential, working together, getting big performances and winning.
I think the Thunder are extremely ready. I think they’re going to show something. Of course the Mavs are scary. Dirk is enough to get your attention. But this isn’t the same team that eliminated OKC. Missing J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler makes them a completely different group. They’re going to be tough and they have players that won a title last season, but the Thunder are a year better and a year wiser. I think they’ll handle business.
If anything the thing that makes me anxious about tonight is that the Thunder might want it a little too much. They might be a little too hungry. They might be too eager to prove something. They might play a bit tight, shoot the ball poorly and not let loose with the confident basketball. Visions of Game 3 against the Mavs keeps popping into my head.
The Mavs could extend the series just because it’s not hard to see Dirk having a Dirk game and going off, but I think the Thunder are as hungry as they’ve ever been. But it has to be controlled emotion, bottled just right so as to maximize potential and effort. Again. he only thing that scares me is that they might want it just a little too much. And Dirk. Dirk is very scary.
My pick? Thunder in five.
(Here’s a full series preview at CBSSports.com from me if you want to read it.)
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Playoffs.
Audio via Randy Renner of NBA.com.