OKC Thunder (31-8, 12-5 road) vs. Dallas Mavericks (17-23, 11-7 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 113.0 (1st), Mavs– 103.6 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (6th), Mavs – 106.7 (22nd)
Pace: Thunder – 92.5 (8th), Mavs – 93.9 (5th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
To the road they go. The Thunder take off for six games away from the comfort of The Peake playing the Mavs, Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors, Kings and Lakers. But it starts in Dallas with a semi-resurgent Mavs team.
On the brink of complete implosion, the Mavericks have somewhat righted themselves as of late. They’ve won four straight breaking a stretch where they had lost 10 of 11. The Mavs have been disappointing for sure, but they have lost seven games in overtime this season, so they’re not too awful far from being a .500 team.
The key for the Thunder is to get off on the right foot with this trip. I think it breaks down as three wins is good, four wins is great and anything above that is outstanding. Losing a game like this one to the Mavs would really put OKC behind the eight-ball, so it’s smart to get off on the right foot here.
Dallas coming in: Again, the Mavs have won four straight and last played Wednesday beating the Rockets.
Three Big Things
1. Dirk. He’s coming around. He’s not quite himself, but he’s playing more minutes and doing more damage. In January he’s averaging 31 minutes a game and 16.4 points. So he’s back to being that old dangerous, scary Dirk.
2. Collison. Not Nick. Darren. He torched the Thunder in the first meeting, lighting Russell Westbrook up for 32 points which included a miraculous 3 to send it overtime. The Thunder simply have to do a better job of defending him, otherwise, things will be challenging again.
3. Hold the Mayo. Get it? You get it.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Right Foot.