Mavericks (20-27, 8-18 road) vs. Thunder (35-12, 20-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.4 (1st), Mavs– 104.4 (14th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.7 (10th), Mavs – 106.7 (22nd)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (8th), Mavs – 94.4 (5th)
View from the enemy: The Two Man Game
Kind of getting tired of talking about bouncing back for the Thunder. They’re really good at it, which is great, but this is the fourth straight bounce back opportunity for OKC. The Thunder haven’t won back-to-back games since beating Dallas in overtime on Jan. 18.
One thing that’s going to help remedy that: The Thunder are finally at home for more than a cup of coffee. OKC starts a three-game homestand tonight, the first against a scrappy Mavericks team. And one that the Thunder know well. In the two meetings, both games have gone to overtime, with Dallas sending it there each time with big-time clutch 3-pointers.
If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that this game probably won’t be a sure-thing. Dirk Nowitzki is expected to play and with him, the Mavs are dangerous despite their record. OKC’s defense has really lapsed as of late as the Thunder have allowed points in bulk. The Mavs aren’t a great offensive team, but they do have weapons in O.J. Mayo, Dirk and Darren Collison.
With the Spurs on fire, every game is becoming more and more important. Can’t be giving any away at home. The only thing worse than a loss is not bouncing back the next time out.
Dallas coming in: The Mavs last played on Friday beating the Suns.
Three Big Things
1. Defending Dirk. It’s always priority No. 1 when you play Dallas. Serge Ibaka has improved in his defense of Dirk recently, but it’s going to be more about Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins, especially in crunchtime if it’s close.
2. Mayo. He has yet to really go off against OKC at all (other than making that big 3). Thabo Sefolosha has done terrific work on him and eliminating Mayo as an extra scorer really hampers what the Mavs are offensively.
3. Defense. How about playing some? Yeah, that sounds good.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go No Overtime.