Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Dallas Mavericks look to return to the NBA Finals as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in game five. The Mavericks are 6-point favorites over the Thunder with an over/under total set at 199.
The Dallas Mavericks were down 15 points with less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter but managed to gut out a win in game four behind a monster night for Dirk mixed with some rookie mistakes by the Thunder down the stretch. Nowitzki served up another scintillating performance with 40 points on the night as the German once again proved unguardable in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks were out-rebounded 33-55 on the night but continued to weather the storm all the while as their veteran instincts kicked in naturally to close the game. The Mavericks last trip to the Finals was in the 2005-2006 season where they lost the Miami Heat, their likely opponent if they make it back.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is playing out the classic story of burgeoning talent maturing before our eyes. The problem is that ultimately losing in the playoffs completes the process and this Thunder team will need to develop a little more over the course of next season to fully be ready. Poor decision making down the stretch continues to plague this team as they seem to forget they have one of the most explosive scorers in the game in Kevin Durant at crucial junctures where turning the ball over and chucking up threes has become the norm. James Harden fouling out in the fourth quarter of last game really proved to be the turning point as the Thunder offense can quickly crumble in the face of veteran defense in crunch time. The Thunder hasn’t quit and will play their hearts out in game five, but can they actually win a road game to stay alive when Dirk’s rematch against Miami seems like destiny?
We’ve seen some monster totals in this series and one that went way under so my thinking is off course a little from series matchup history, but nonetheless I think the veterans play some stifling defense here. While I do expect Dallas to close this thing out, the spread seems a bit tricky for my liking. Therefore, I am going with the under of 199.5.