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Thunder vs. Mavericks: Game 4 Pregame Primer

Thunder vs. Mavericks: Game 4 Pregame Primer



Western Conference Quarterfinals (Best 4 of 7)

Thunder (2-1, 1-0 road) vs. Mavericks (1-2, 0-1 home)

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

OKC leads 2-1

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

  • Offensive Rating: Thunder – 111.1 (4th), Mavericks – 88.9 (15th)
    Defensive Rating: Thunder – 88.9 (2nd), Mavericks – 111.1 (13th)

The question now becomes: Are the Thunder going to continue their bipolar ways or will they finally be consistent and continue with what they started in Game 3? Consistency is the one thing that separates the contenders from the also-rans. In a 7 game series, if you put together 5 great games, it should be enough to put you in contention to win the series. But if you can only put together 3 or 4 great games, that’s where you run into trouble.

3 Big Things

1. Big Men

Yes, the Thunder have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But the area in which the Thunder are dominating is in the paint. Steven Adams and Enes Kanter are taking it to the Mavericks, and frustrating the living life out of them. Salah Mejri looks like he may literally kill someone in this series for how frustrated he is. So be on the lookout, refs. Their rebounding and interior presence both on the offensive and defensive end has been dominant.

2. Composure

It’s getting to the point in the series where the teams are starting to really dislike each other. The dance-off from Game 2 and the physicality from Game 3 is setting the stage for some drama in Game 4. Both of these teams are veteran-laden, so I think cooler heads will prevail. But, just let a Charlie Villanueva, Steven Adams, or Justin Anderson get too crazy, and the you know what may hit the fan.

3. Cam Payne

His handling has been a bit disappointing in this series. If you want your rookie to gain experience, there is no better time to do it than against an opponent that won’t exploit his weakness, which is perimeter defense. The experience he could be getting against the Mavs could prove invaluable in the future.