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It’s here. Game 1. Thunder-Mavericks series should be a doozie. A lot of analyst have the Mavericks in 6 games. Which, is understandable. Oklahoma City is a young, inexperienced team. The Mavericks are the veteran savvy team. It’s only suitable that you go through a step by step process to get to the Finals. Thunder have skipped a step. They made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Mavericks haven’t played in 10 days. They’ll be ready. They’re tired of playing against each other. Thunder, trying to rest up after a grueling seven game series. Who’ll benefit more from the rest? Mavericks were hot in their last game, hitting 20-32 three point shots in a game 4 murdering of the Lakers. With 10 days between games, will they lose their stroke? I hope so.

 I could spend all day writing about how the Thunder might be able to pull the upset. However, I don’t have that time and I don’t think you want to read that either. I’ll stick to my three keys to victory. Win these three keys and the Thunder should steal Game 1 from the favored Mavericks.

Bench Game: Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic are beastly off the bench. They combined to go 15-16 from three point range in Game 4 vs. the Lakers. Now, that’ll be hard to duplicate. However, they’ve been two of the best shooters from behind the perimeter this season. It’ll be key to not get lost in the ball movement the Mavericks do with precision. Defenders such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant need to learn to rotate and cover their defender.

Three Point Shooting: Thunder shoot over 37% in victories and 23% in losses. Mavericks were on fire in Game 4 from behind the arc. The defense on the perimeter needs to be better. Mavericks are shooting 37% for the series versus Oklahoma City. That’ll have to contest shots. 

Energy: Will they layoff help the Mavericks? Will the Thunder have a bit of tired legs? Will the Mavericks feed of the energy from American Airlines Center? We’ll find out. Another dangerous road game for the Thunder. Good news for them though, OKC beat Dallas earlier this season in AAC, 99-95. However, Dirk Nowitzki did not play in that match up.

This is also the first time these teams have met post trade. So, it’s hard to get a gauge on how this team will be. I’m thoroughly excited to find out how we’ll do against this veteran savvy team.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.