OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
at DALLAS MAVERICKS
Tip-off: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The Mavericks will be looking to earn an impressive victory over Russell Westbrook and the Thunder on Sunday.
The Thunder defeated the Mavericks 109-98 in the most recent meeting between the two teams. That was on Jan. 26 and the Thunder were 9-point favorites in that one. Oklahoma City has been dominant in this head-to-head series recently, as the team is now 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS when facing Dallas in the past 10 meetings. It is, however, worth noting that the Thunder had Kevin Durant up until this year, and they are not the team they were when the superstar was still around. Another thing that needs to be pointed out is that the OVER has hit in seven of the past 10 games in this series. It has also come through on four straight occasions heading into this one. Both of these teams are good ATS, as both of them have records that place them in the top-10 in the league. The Mavericks are the home team, however, and that is extremely important when looking at this one. The Thunder have a losing record both SU and ATS when playing away from home, and the Mavericks are a very good team when playing in Dallas. They have a winning record SU at home and have also covered in just about 60% of their games in their arena. They’ll be hoping to notch another win-and-cover on Sunday.
PG Russell Westbrook put on a show the last time he faced the Mavericks, scoring 45 points with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in 35 minutes of action. Westbrook was 16-for-29 from the floor, 4-for-8 from three and 9-for-11 from the line in that game. Oklahoma City will be hoping for yet another efficient performance like that one, but he should be able to do a better job of getting his teammates involved this time around. Westbrook is a triple-double machine, so it’d be surprising if he didn’t record at least eight assists in this one. Defensively, he’ll want to be as aggressive as possible in this game. He’s going up against a Dallas team that is small and weak at the point guard spot, so he should be able to cause some turnovers on Sunday. On the inside, both Cs Enes Kanter and Steven Adams should be able to have tremendous impacts here. Kanter is one of the best scorers in the league once he gets inside the paint, and Dallas doesn’t have anybody that can really cover him. Adams, meanwhile, will need to continue to do the dirty work for this team. He should have a nice game on the boards, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he had a double-double in this one.
When the Mavericks lost to the Thunder in January, SF Harrison Barnes had 31 points on 13-for-26 shooting from the floor. Barnes will need to come through with another big offensive performance in this one, and he should be able to do that in front of his own fans. Barnes will also need to be engaged defensively, and should spend plenty of time at the power forward position in this one. If he does then he will need to be ready to play tough, as Oklahoma City has a massive frontcourt. The same goes for PF Dirk Nowitzki, who could have trouble dealing with the size of guys like Kanter and Adams. Nowitzki could, however, force the Thunder to take those guys off the floor in this one. If he is hitting his threes then Oklahoma City will need to put somebody quicker on him. In the backcourt guys like PG Yogi Ferrell, SG Seth Curry and SG Wes Matthews will need to show up. The three of them have been taking turns on who gets going lately, but Curry is the one that can probably do the most damage here. He has been playing with a ton of confidence recently and should be able to knock down a few threes on Sunday.