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Mavericks vs. Thunder: Game 2 Pregame Primer

Mavericks vs. Thunder: Game 2 Pregame Primer



Western Conference Quarterfinals (Best 4 of 7)

Mavericks (0-1, 0-1 road) vs. Thunder (1-0, 1-0 home)

TV: TNT/FSOklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 7:00 PM CST

OKC leads 1-0

Playoff Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats – out of 16 teams)

  • Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.1 (6th), Mavericks – 70.4 (16th)
    Defensive Rating: Thunder – 70.4 (1st), Mavericks – 112.1 (11th)

Well, Game 1 went about as well as it could possibly go. Thirty-eight point blowouts in the playoffs are about as rare as they come. Teams don’t normally get to rest their starters in the 4th quarter in the playoffs. But the Oklahoma City Thunder came out of the gate with an objective in mind, and were honed in on that objective from tip-off. They looked focused, involved, active; all the things we, as fans, have been looking for from this team on a consistent basis since late October. If that was the manner in which they saved up their energy reserves for the postseason, then by all means, forgive me for complaining about the team’s lulls during the season.

In the end though, and as the Thunder so fondly remind us, that was just one game. They have to do this three more times in order to move on to the next round. You win, you reflect on it, and you move on. The Thunder have done it. The Mavericks have done it. On to Game 2.

3 Big Things

1. Line-up Changes

With JJ Barea out and Deron Williams doubtful with a hernia injury, there will definitely be some line-up changes for the Mavericks tonight. Besides the injuries, the Mavericks have to get bigger, as the Thunder dominated them with size in all facets of the game. If both point guards are out tonight, look for the Mavericks to go with a more traditional line-up with Wes Matthews at SG and Justin Anderson at SF. In addition, the Mavericks may look to replace Salah Mejri with Zaza Pachulia in the starting line-up, as Mejri was completely ineffective in his first career playoff start.

2. Mindset

These two teams are probably coming at this game from two different directions. The Thunder are coming off the high of a 38-point victory in their return back to the playoffs. And the Mavericks are picking up the pieces after suffering their 2nd worst defeat in their playoff history. With all that said, the Mavericks may be okay with giving the Thunder a 2-0 game lead heading back to Dallas. Three rotation players are down for the Mavericks (JJ Barea, David Lee, and Deron Williams) and would definitely benefit from 4 days of rest before Game 3.

On the flipside, if the Thunder look at the injury report and come into this game thinking the outcome of the game is already in their favor, they may find themselves in a dog fight. Dallas is still a playoff team, they still have players that can get hot in an instant, and Rick Carlisle is still a great coach. One thing you never want with Dallas is a close game with Dirk Nowitzki on the floor.

3. Turnovers

If there is one thing that can be shored up for the Thunder heading into Game 2, its the turnovers. The Thunder threw the ball away 18 times, and the Mavericks capitalized on those giveaways for 16 points. Had Dallas been a better transition team or had they hit more of their shots, those turnovers could have been much more deleterious.

Thunder Killer

Wes Matthews – Matthews played horribly in Game 1, going 3-10 from the field and 1-6 from 3-point territory. If there is one player the Mavericks need to rebound and have a good game, its Matthews. I’m putting Matthews as the Thunder Killer out of necessity for the Mavericks.