The Dallas Mavericks take on the best team in the western conference, record wise, the Oklahoma City Thunder at the American Airlines Center Wednesday night. Oklahoma City brings their third ranked offense to Dallas for the third matchup this season and look to establish themselves as an NBA elite team. Defeating the Mavericks would help make that case. Oklahoma City was defeated Monday night by the Los Angeles Clippers, behind Chris Paul, the Clippers enjoyed a nice cushion throughout the game, leading by as much as 22 points.
Dallas traveled to Phoenix Monday and thrashed the Suns with a 122-99 victory behind Vince Carter and Delonte West’s performances. Between the two of them they hit 10-13 from 3-point land, both finished with 20 plus points. Carter is looking more and more comfortable after posting another nice stat line, even after missing a couple of games with an ankle injury. Dirk continues to struggle, especially on defense, after missing games due to conditioning and knee problems. The most surprising player right now has to be Roddy Beabious, who has played great in Kidds absence. In the time Kidd has been out, Beabious has been averaging just fewer than 7 assists per game. What is most impressive about Beabious is his shot blocking ability, averaging more than two blocks a contest in that span.
Oklahoma City is looking for a bounce back performance after starting off the season as one of the hottest teams. When Kevin Durant gets most of the shots, this team is scary good and can beat anyone in the league when all cylinders are clicking. The key for the Thunder is simple, Durant must touch the ball every possession since he is the STAR of the team. Westbrook is a tremendous athlete and can make a lot of plays by penetrating and attacking the basket, but he can at times get sloppy and has one of the NBA’s worst turnover to assist ratio, only three rookies are worse.
Injuries have plagued the Mavericks all season, but that has not been a major problem simply because Dallas has one of the leagues best bench. It is a luxury to have Terry, Odom, Carter and Beabious to come off the bench. Maybe Nowitzki can break out of his funk against the Thunder, in two games this season the 7-footer is averaging over 27 points. Going back to the Western Conference finals he averaged 32 points, and twice went for 40 or more. Dallas has won 5 of the last 7 meetings with Oklahoma City, one of the losses was courtesy of Kevin Durant’s last second shot from the moon.
The key to this game is who shoots better from behind the arc. Both teams can shoot the ball but the team that shoots better from 3-point wins the game.
About the Author
Written by Max Barton
Current student at the University of Oklahoma, my passion is sports and trying to make that passion my profession.