Game Day #4: vs. Mavericks


 Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1, 1-0 home) vs Dallas Mavericks (3-1, 0-1 away)


Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 8:30 pm
 ESPN (206 Directv, 28 Cox, 602 AT&T U-Verse, 140 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: OKC favored by 7.5 . O/U – 210.5
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Mavericks
PG:  Russell Westbrook  Jose Calderon
SG:  Thabo Sefolosha  Monta Ellis
SF:  Kevin Durant  Shawn Marion
PF:  Serge Ibaka  Dirk Nowitzki
C:  Kendrick Perkins  Samuel Dalembert

Last Time: Last time these two met, Oklahoma City found a way to beat the Dallas Mavericks 107-101 back on March 17th of this year. It was the 10th straight win over the Mavericks. Oklahoma City hasn’t lost a game to the Dallas Mavericks since January 2, 2012.

It’s the I-35 Rivalry back at it again tonight. The Oklahoma City look to continue their domination over the Dallas Mavericks, as the Mavs are hot and roll into Oklahoma City. With Russell Westbrook back for the Thunder, it is going to be an explosion of guard awesomeness.

Westbrook returned for the Thunder to the very great surprise of the entire Thunder nation on Sunday. He was very instrumental in Oklahoma City coming from behind and pulling out the 103-96 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook was rusty, missing 11 shot attempts, and turning it over four times. However, he scores 21 points, dished in seven assists and got to the line 14 times. He looked like the old Westbrook most of the time, but had rust.

In the metroplex, the Dallas Mavericks are coming off a big 123-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas led by as many as 30 points in the victory. Monta Ellis contributed 30 points, 11 assists as the Mavericks were in cruise control for most of the night. Seven different Dallas players scored in double figures, including hitting 13 three’s as a team. It was the second straight win for the Mavericks, as they took down the Grizzlies previously. The Mavericks only loss came on a road game as well, to the Houston Rockets 113-105.

With Westbrook no longer out with the injury, the Oklahoma City Thunder are completely healthy!

First round pick, Shane Larkin, is out for the Mavericks with a broken ankle. Devan Harris and Brendan Wright injured for the Mavs. Harris is still recovering from toe surgeries, while Wright working back from a broken shoulder. No timetable has been set for the two. The Mavericks will be back on the court Wednesday at Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City is currently on a 10 game winning streak over the Dallas Mavericks. That spans all the way to 2011-12 NBA season. Overall, the teams have met 136 times. The Thunder are holding the 71-65 advantage over the mavericks. Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder hold a 11-7 advantage, including six consecutive games. Oklahoma City holds the 6-3 lead at Chesapeake Energy Arena since the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle. In the playoffs, it’s a 10-8 Thunder lead, with Oklahoma City winning four in a row, currently.

Keys to the Game

Defend Perimeter
The Dallas Mavericks dropped 13 triples versus the Lakers, and averaging 24 attempts per game, hitting 10 a game. They’re shooting 41.2 percent from behind the arc. Oklahoma City will have to use their length to force the Mavericks off the perimeter. Need to do something, can’t let the Mavericks get too comfortable, too quickly.

Dallas doesn’t play much defense. Yeah, they’re averaging 114 points per game. However, they’re allowing 106.3 points per game. That’s pretty bad. They’re not very good in transition defense, so the Thunder must find a way to score a lot of points tonight. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook back, so Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson will be key in helping the Thunder outscore the Mavericks.

Coming into tonight’s game with the Mavericks, the Oklahoma City Thunder are ranked 30th in three-point shooting. They’re shooting just 22.1 percent. That’s bad. Oklahoma City needs to find some good shot selections, and find a way to score some deep shots. This game could hinge on the fact that Oklahoma City can or cannot make the three-ball.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Member of the Professional Basketball Writer's Association. Lover of Advanced Stats. Russell Westbrook apologist. 2014