Dallas Mavericks (12-16, 4-12 road) vs. OKC Thunder (21-6, 14-2)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.9 (1st), Mavs– 102. (22nd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.0 (11th), Mavs – 106.6 (21st)
Pace: Thunder – 92.1 (13th), Mavs – 94.4 (3rd)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
After two straight losses, the Thunder are angry, and still very confident. And coming home. A dangerous, scary combination for the incoming Mavericks. The Thunder haven’t played well in their last two games. Part of that was opponent, part of that was self-inflicted. Russell Westbrook has been erratic, the defense spotty and the Thunder haven’t gotten stellar production from complementary pieces likes Kevin Martin or Serge Ibaka.
So with a wounded, disjointed Mavs team coming to town, it’s a pretty idea opportunity to start feeling better about yourselves. The Mavs do have Dirk back, albeit on a limited basis, but with O.J. Mayo scoring splendidly and some talented veterans, they’re still a team to pay attention to.
Dallas coming in: They last played Sunday, completely getting smoked by the Spurs.
Three Big Things
1. Do what you do. The Thunder need to move the ball, space the floor, finish at the rim, involve other pieces, get to the line and score efficiently. In other words, some of the things they haven’t done all that well the past two games. The Mavs aren’t a very good defensive team and while Shawn Marion always does decent on KD, they shouldn’t have an answer for Westbrook. He’s due for a big game.
2. Dirk. Like I said, his minutes are being watched and it’s likely he’ll come off the bench, but he’s still Dirk and he’s still nearly impossible to defend. You know at some point in the new few weeks Dirk’s going to have that game where he shows he’s on his way back. Hopefully it’s not tonight against the Thunder.
3. Point guard. The Mavs are pretty much lost at this position currently. Derek Fisher quit, Darren Collison hasn’t worked out and Dominique Jones isn’t built to play the position. So again, it could be Westbrook’s time to shine and remind everyone how good he is. Also, the other Thunder point guard: Who will it be, Eric Maynor or Reggie Jackson? Has there actually been a rotation change or is the spot open for business?
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Win Again.