First Round, Game 4: Thunder at Mavericks



Where: American Airlines Center
: 6:30 p.m. 
: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: The Smoking Cuban.

Projected Lineups:

Thunder Mavericks
PG Russell Westbrook Jason Kidd
SG Thabo Sefolosha Delonte West
SF Kevin Durant Shawn Marion
PF Serge Ibaka Dirk Nowitzki
C Kendrick Perkins Brendon Haywood
6th Man James Harden Jason Terry


Last time: OKC asserted themselves as they won 95-79 to take a commanding 3-0 run.

This game is INTENSE. The Mavericks are back against the wall, trailing 3-0 in the series. No team in the history of the NBA has ever come back to win a series once down 3-0.  The Thunder are sitting in a pretty solid spot. The Thunder are trying to sweep a team in the playoffs for the first time since 1995-1996. That year, they went to the NBA Finals.  If OKC would be able to pull off the sweep, it would only be the second time in franchise history.

Kevin Durant exploded for 31 points on 15 shots in Game 3, and it helped Oklahoma City to the blow out win, knows Dallas isn’t going to roll over.

“We know we have to be prepared and focused and locked in,” Durant said. “We’ve got a good opportunity. … We haven’t (done anything). That’s what we have to think.”

Just because as of 1:30 pm there are over 800 tickets left on stubhub for tonight’s game, that the Mavericks are just going to roll over.  Since 2005 when the NBA playoffs expanded to the Best-of-7, Teams that were 0-3 going into Game 4 only won 10 of 31 games. Only once did a team force it to a seventh game.  (2003 Dallas vs. Portland).

Keys to the game

Bench Scoring
I’m not saying OKC needs to win this matchup. However, the pattern over the series it that Oklahoma City needs to be near, or equal to the Mavericks bench production. With OKC’s third scorer coming off the bench, Oklahoma City relies heavily on their bench production.

Offensive boards
First two games, the Mavericks were able to grab some offensive rebounds, and put them in for extra points. However, in Game 3, the Thunder really limited them on grabbing those. Result? Oklahoma City led by 26 points at one point in the game.

Play your game
Being up 3-0 can really cause a lot of teams to play lightly, knowing they have a few mistakes in their pocket. Oklahoma City needs to assert its self by winning this game. Anything else, can give this Mavs team confidence. No one thought Boston was going to win in 2005, but they stunned the Yankees by coming back from 3-0. I could also reference some hockey when that’s happeneed. So, it CAN happen.

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