Oklahoma City Thunder (-8.5, 196.5 o/u) at Dallas Mavericks
The Oklahoma City Thunder (55-27, 23-18 Away) were sure they were going to have a field day with the Dallas Mavericks (42-40, 23-18 Home) after stomping them by 38 points in Game 1. Not so fast. The Mavericks shocked OKC with a Game 2 win and now the series is tied heading to Dallas for a pivotal Game 3 tonight at the American Airlines Center (7:00 PM Eastern).
OKC scored 108 points with ease in Game 1 and had one of their best defensive efforts of the season, holding Dallas to just 70. Game 2 flipped the script, as the high-scoring Thunder shot just 33.7-percent from the field (including 21.9-percent from three) and fell 85-84.
Kevin Durant had the worst game of his postseason career. He finished with 21 points, but needed 33 shots to get there (7-33 from the field, 2-11 from three). And he wasn’t distributing, either, picking up just two dimes on the night. (It’s hard to rack up assists when you keep jacking jumpers.)
Though Dallas has stolen home-court advantage, they remain a huge underdog in the series. Durant isn’t going to play as badly going forward – and OKC still almost won when he was at his worst. Plus the Mavs are seriously banged up.
Point guard J.J. Barea (groin), who’s already starting in place of Deron Williams (hernia), is doubtful for Game 3, as is forward David Lee (plantar fascia). Williams and aging superstar Dirk Nowitzki (knee) are listed as questionable.
Nowitzki is averaging 17.5 points in the series and is the only Maverick to reach double-digits in both games.
Before the meeting on Monday, the Mavs had lost the last five straight against OKC, giving up 111.6 points on average. Expect Durant and the Thunder to get back on track tonight against a laboring Dallas squad that overperformed in Game 2.
Pick: OKC (-8.5).
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (originally posted to Flickr as 00033490) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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