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Saturday, April 28, 2012

NBA Playoff Preview Part 5 Thunder/Mavericks

 Western Conference
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder VS #7 Dallas Mavericks
This should be a short but closely contested series. The Oklahoma CityThunder are one of the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA Title this season. First they have to knock off the defending Champion Dallas Mavericks. The same Mavs, who ended the Thunders season in the Western Conference Finals last year.

The Mavericks did not play as well this season, as they did during their run to the NBA Title last year.  The loss of Tyson Chandler, has really hurt them defensively. Dallas has played well against the Thunder this season winning one game and competitive in all four. Dallas likes to use the Zone defense, (second most Zone usage in the NBA this year) and the Thunder struggle against the Zone. Dirk Nowitzki is going to have provide the majority of Dallas' offense, especially in the fourth quarter. Jason Terry and Jason Kidd need to find their games for Dallas, if the Mavs are to pull the upset in this series.

The Thunder will really miss James Harden in this series if he is unable to come back 100% from the vicious elbow he received from Metta World Peace. Harden is the Thunder's best player against the Zone, as he is unafraid to slash into the lane from either wing. Thankfully, for the Thunder they have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook still. The key for the Thunder in this series and for the rest of the Playoffs is to have Westbrook share the ball. The Thunder can not win if he is shooting the ball every time down the floor. He has too much talent around him to hog the ball the whole game. Kevin Durant won his third straight NBA scoring title this season.

The Pick: Thunder in 5 games. The Thunder have too much scoring for the Mavericks to handle. Dallas is not scoring enough to make up for it's declining defense. I expect these game to be close, but ultimately the younger legs of OKC will prevail.

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