OKC Thunder (5-0, 2-0 on the road) at Dallas Mavericks (1-4, 1-2 at home)
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
When: 7:30 p.m. CST
TV: FSOK (DirectTV 679, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 754)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
This really feels like a playoff series. Dallas and Oklahoma City are set to play their fourth matchup in 16 days. Dallas however, is not ready for the playoffs by any means. They’re 1-4. Three of the four losses have been by 11 or more points. In all three double digit losses, they trailed by 18 or more points. Dirk looks tired, out of shape. Team trainers commented during the Minnesota game last night, that Dirk was fatigued due to lack of conditioning. Really? This is our defending champions? Almost feel embarrassed for the NBA.
However, we know what the Mavs can bring if they get hot. They have Jason Terry, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. All three could win a ball game if needed during certain situations. Lamar Odom is no where near the guy they thought he would be this season. Could because it’s still basically training camp. However, they need to get their act together, or they’ll miss out on the playoffs. The Dallas offense is averaging just 94 points per game. While, their defense gives up 101.8 points.
Dallas did play much better against the Thunder last week. However, had it not been for the turnovers, Kevin Durant’s buzzer beater wouldn’t even be necessary. Oklahoma City turned the ball over 26 times, including 19 between Kendrick Perkins, Russell Westbrook and Durant.
Good things came out of that besides the ol ‘W’, Westbrook starting looking like his old self. The crowd was phenomenal. It all was capped off with Durant’s 28 foot three-point shot that was the play of the holiday weekend.
Oklahoma City is 5-0 for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City. First time since 1998-1999, a lock out season when the Thunder, then Supersonics, went 6-0. Thunder are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NBA. (Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are the other two).
Keys to the game
Control the temp
Dallas is old. They’re slow. They cannot keep up with this team. No, I’m not trying to convince you and I that this is what can happen if we wish hard enough. This is what needs to happen. Get out in transition, and then hit the open man. Sounds easy? Oklahoma City is one of the best teams in transition, why not use it to our advantage. Dallas was able to slow the tempo down and play at their speed last week.
Limit the Dallas bench
Jason Terry is going to get his shot. However, players such as Vince Carter seem to play so well versus the Thunder. He hit a big three-point shot with 1.4 seconds, setting up KD’s big shot. Key on those guys. Force guys like Brendon Haywood to beat you.
You would say it is so simple and predictable. When you’re last in turning the ball over, this is critical. This kept Dallas in the game. Enough said.