(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Here it goes, a huge deciding factor, winner goes up 2-1 and needs to just win 2 of the final 4 games to reach the NBA Finals. However, doing so will be tough. Dallas arguably the best road team in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is unguardable. Kevin Durant is having a great series even though you only know about his magnificent posterizing of Brenden Haywood.

Short and sweet, the Thunder need to dominate and push the Mavericks on their heels. The Oklahoma City Thunder crowd should be louder than ever. The bench was key in Game 1 and 2 for both teams.

Keys to Game 3:

Bench Production: The winning team has dominated the bench. I believe that the more successful bench will very key to victory. Thunder dominated 50-29 bench scoring in Game 2. Harden had 23 points, Maynor 13. Game 1, Jason Terry and JJ Barea combined for 45 points and a huge bench victory for the Mavs.

Russell Westbrook: How will he respond to the “incident” in Game 2? Will he brush it off as it is, nothing? It’ll be key to our victory. He’ll have to limit turnovers and be very aggressive. Shown that can’t really be guarded, he just needs to be in control. He’s getting nice looks, not able to fall quiet yet.

Three point defense: Mavericks can shoot the three. That’s a no brainer. However, can the Thunder continue their defense on the perimeter? Mavericks just shot 33% in Game 2.  First half of game 1, OKC forced bad shot selections by the Mav’s shooters, and they started out 0-7 from behind the arc. However, when OKC tried to double team Dirk or someone, Dallas was able to find the open shoot for the three ball. Dallas finished 9-16 for the next 3 quarter (56%).

Prediction: OKC 105, Dallas 98

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Chuck Chaney

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