OKC Thunder (2-0, 0-0 road) at Dallas Mavericks (0-2, 0-0 home)
Thunder lead series 2-0
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
History already favors teams up 2-0 in a series (94 percent win the series). But history really favors teams up 3-0 (100 percent win the series). Where the Mavs sit, they now have to beat the Thunder four out of five times. But it starts with one game and the Thunder can really grab this one around the throat with a win tonight. Winning one of these two games in Dallas is key so that there’s a chance to finish it out at home in Game 5, but Oklahoma City has a chance to essentially put it away tonight.
Jason Terry has already called this Game 7 for the Mavericks. Their backs are against the wall already being down 2-0, so it’s not like they don’t realize how important this game is. They’re the defending champs, so you know there’s just too much pride to lay down.
As we all know, this series is so very close to being the other way around. Both games have been down to a final possession, with Kevin Durant rescuing Oklahoma City at the buzzer in Game 1 and Terry failing to do so for the Mavs in Game 2. But both games went the Thunder’s way as they were the team making the plays late in both games. The scene shifts to Dallas where the Mavs will expect to protect their home court. The Thunder have won in Dallas in the postseason before though, having taken Game 2 there in the Western Finals last postseason.
Three Big Things
1. 15-44. That’s what three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant has gone from the field through the first two games. The Mavs have done a tremendous job forcing Durant out of the paint, making him isolate and shoot extremely contested jumpers. The Thunder have survived two games despite their star struggling from the floor. Hard to imagine OKC getting away with that a third time.
2. Adjusting. The Mavs essentially executed their gameplan to perfection in Games 1 and 2. They just didn’t win. They held Durant down, got Dirk going, had Terry scoring and played solid team defense. The Thunder just made a few more plays. I don’t think there’s any grand adjustment to be made for either side at this point, because there hasn’t been much that’s separated either team.
3. Russell Westbrook. The Mavs just haven’t had an answer. There’s been talk of shifting Shawn Marion over to check Westbrook because between Terry, Jason Kidd, Delonte West and the Mavs’ zone, nothing has slowed down OKC’s speedy point man. He’s getting what he wants, when he wants it. With Durant struggling, it would seem that the Mavs have missed an opportunity, but Westbrook showcased why the Thunder are dangerous. There are two legit heads to the monster, with a third in James Harden. The Mavs have shown they can control Durant, but they have to figure out a way to slow Westbrook.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go South Thunder.