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First Round, Game 1: Mavs at Thunder

SERIES TIED 0-0.

 VS 

Where: The ‘Peake!
When
: 8:30 p.m. 
TV
: 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 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 in the playoffs: Dallas defeated the Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals. Dallas would go on to win the World Championship.

Welcome to the 2012 Playoffs. Oklahoma City starts their playoff run where last year’s ended, against the Dallas Mavericks. This isn’t the same Mavericks team though from last season. We’ve seen them be very vulnarable against teams this year. Fact is, Dallas is just 22-22 over the last two-thirds of the season. They’re just 5-5 in their last 10 games, including being spanked by the Hawks in their regular season finale.

Oklahoma City is coming into this game, slumping a bit as well. They’re 7-7 in their last 14 games. However, they get a huge boost of energy back tonight. The bearded one, James Harden, is back in the line-up tonight. He’s sat out the previous two games after receiving a concussion from the elbow from Metta World Peace.

The Thunder won the regular series match up with the Mavericks 3-1, including the buzzer beater in the fourth game of the season for the Thunder.

Here’s a recap of that if you missed it

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtHq9RFQeqc">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtHq9RFQeqc</a>

It’s obvious that Oklahoma City is the better team this year.  However, talking to the players, you can tell they still have tons of respect for the Mavericks.

“It’s all we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Durant said Friday. “It’s going to be a tough, tough series for us playing against the reigning champions. They cause so many problems on the offensive end and defensive end for us.”

“We just know that we have a lot of respect for what they do and what they accomplished last season,” Brooks said. “They’ve got a lot of veteran guys who went through a lot of playoff battles to get what they got to last year, winning the championship.”

So, don’t expect Oklahoma City to just roll over, thinking this is a cake walk series.  They’ll bring it all, and you better too.

Just a reminder folks, they’re expecting the storm to roll into OKC about 8 p.m. Get to the arena early, avoid the storm. There was talk of hail hitting the metro.

Keys to the game

Shoot Threes Efficiently
The Thunder really struggled against a Dallas team that was pretty average at defending the three. OKC only shot 30% from three. What’s interesting when you look at the numbers, the best OKC shot was in the game where they took the lowest number attempts (6-14 in 104-102 win).

Points in the Paint
In their lone loss to the Mavericks, OKC allowed 54 points in the paint, in a 100-87 win by Dallas.  In the three wins for OKC, Dallas had just 37.3 points on average in the next three games (36, 38, 38).

Russell Westbrook
The Honey Badger had a fantastic March. However, his April was very lack luster. He looked REALLY good against the Nuggets though. Was he just bored, and going through the motions? We’ll never know for sure. However, we’re going to see how he plays against the Mavericks, and if we’re going to see March Westbrook, or are we going to December Westbrook? We’ll find out tonigth.

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