Dallas Mavericks: Showdown with Thunder, tied 1-1

The Dallas Mavericks will look for Luka Doncic to lead them to the next round. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

I told you so!

The Dallas Mavericks took care of business against the Thunder on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. I shared in my previous article that Dallas would lose the first game by 9 points… but they got spanked by 22 points! Final score: Thunder 117 – Mavericks 95. In Game 2, Dallas beat the Thunder by 9 points and in my article, I told you guys that Dallas would win by 11. The final score was Dallas 119 – OKC 110. Here’s the thing about Dallas, they can beat any team at any time if they stay focused on rebounding and by getting to the free throw line. Dallas out rebounded the Thunder by 3 and shot 48.6% behind the 3-point line. This game would have been a blow out for the Mavericks, but this team cannot stay focused on the defensive end of the floor. Luka Doncic struggles with man-to-man defense. In Game 2 Luka got exposed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the open floor. Doncic has no lateral movement defending athletic guards and forwards on the open floor. Tim Hardaway, Jr. was a spark coming off of the bench scoring 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the floor. Dallas forward P.J. Washington scored 29 points in 40 minutes. Point Guard Kyrie Irving scored 9 points and dished out 11 assists in the win. Let’s take a closer look at the next 3 games of the series and I’ll give you my scores and predictions.

Game 3 
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks
Date: May 11
Time: 2:30 PM
Dallas will need to stay locked in on the boards during this game. On defense, Dallas tends to crowd the lane and often forget to rotate to the guys standing behind the 3-point line. When Dallas fails to rotate it leaves shooters open and it causes problems. Dallas must go deeper in their rotation and allow bench players to contribute. I’m taking Dallas by 8 in this one!
Final Score: Thunder 101 – Mavericks 109

Game 4
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks
Date: May 13
Time: 8:30 PM
Oklahoma City will take a closer look at their rotation during this game. Dallas will have everything figured out if they allow Kyrie to control the ball on the offensive end. Since he’s been a Maverick, Dallas is +29 games with him in the lineup. If Luka is at the shooting guard spot, Kyrie will need to run the offense from the inside out. The most important piece to a Mavericks victory will be rebounding. When Dallas out rebounds their opponents, Dallas is 41-9 in their last 50 games. I’m taking Dallas by 11 and taking a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5.
Final Score: Thunder 89 – Mavericks 100

Game 5
Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Date: May 15
Time: TNT
Time: 8:30 PM
Make no mistake about this series, the healthiest team will win it and move on to the next round. I would be a complete idiot to predict that this Dallas team is walking away with a win on the road to close out the series. Dallas will drop this game on the road and celebrate a victory at home. I’m taking OKC but it will be real close going into the 4th quarter. The Thunder will win this one by 12!
Final Score: Mavericks 94 – Thunder 104