NBA Playoffs Western Conference First Round: #6 Dallas Mavericks vs #3 Oklahoma City Thunder

2016 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Dallas Mavericks vs #3 Oklahoma City Thunder
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Odds to win Series Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks: Thunder -3500 / Mavericks: +1750

Game #1 – Saturday, April 16, 2016, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -12
Current Line: Oklahoma City -11 1/2
Opening Total: 209
Current Total: 205
Opening Money Line: Thunder -1100 / Mavericks +750
Current Money Line: Thunder -1000 / Mavericks +700

The Thunder are heavy favorites against the Mavericks in the Western Conference first round.

The Thunder are heavy favorites against the Mavericks in the Western Conference first round.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks meet in the NBA playoffs for the third time in the last six seasons. Oklahoma City is 55-27 and won the Northwest Division by 11 games over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder are the #3 seed in the Western Confereence. Dallas went 42-40 and tied for second in the Southwest Division with the Memphis Grizzlies, but both teams were 25 games behind the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks won the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies for the #6 seed in the Western Conference. The winner between the Thunder and Mavericks will play either the Spurs or Grizzlies in the conference semifinals.

Dallas is coached by Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks have not won a playoff series since winning the NBA title in 2011. The Mavericks lost at home to the Spurs Wednesday night 96-91 despite San Antonio resting a lot of starters in the last game of the season. Dallas is 45-36-1 ATS and the total is 39-42-1 this season.

Oklahoma City is coached by Billy Donovan. The Thunder return to the playoffs after missing last year when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both missed large portions of the season. Oklahoma City went 2-4 down the stretch but were already pretty much locked into the #3 seed. The Thunder lost in overtime 102-98 Tuesday night at San Antonio despite resting Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. OKC is 37-44-3 ATS and the total is 39-43 this season.

Oklahoma City won  all four meetings against Dallas this season. The Thunder won 117-114 November 22 and 108-89 January 13 both in Oklahoma City. The Thunder also won both games in Dallas 109-106 January 22 and 116-103 February 22. Dallas beat OKC in five games in the 2011 Western Conference Finals but the Thunder swept them in the first round in 2012.

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Dallas is being outscored 102.6-102.2 this season. The Mavericks are shooting 44.4% from the field and 34.4% from three point range. Dallas is #20 or worse in both categories. The Mavericks make 79.4% of their free throws and are #3 in the league. Opponents are shooting 45.1% from the field and 34.2% from three point range. Dallas averages 43.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 45.8 per game. Dallas averages 22.1 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki averages 18.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Deron Williams averages 14.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Forward Chandler Parsons is out for the season with a knee injury. He averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Wesley Matthews averages 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1 steal per game. J.J. Barea averages 10.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He is probable with a groin injury. Raymond Felton, Zaza Pachulia, David Lee and Devin Harris will also get minutes in the rotation. Lee is doubtful with a heel injury and Harris is probable with a thumb injury. Jeremy Evans is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

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Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 110-103 this season. The Thunder are #2 in scoring in the league. OKC is shooting 47.6% from the field and 34.9% from three point range. The Thunder are #3 in field goal shooting. Oklahoma City makes 78.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 34.2% from three point range. The Thunder are #8 or better in both categories. OKC averages 48.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.2 per game. The Thunder are #2 in rebounds allowed and #1 in rebounding. Oklahoma City averages 23 assists, 15.5 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 5.9 blocks per game.

Kevin Durant averages 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1.2 blocks per game. Russell Westbrook averages 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 10.4 assists and 2 steals per game. He had 18 triple doubles this season to tie Magic Johnson in 1981-82 for the most in the last last 40 seasons. Center Enes Kanter averages 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Dion Waiters averages 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal per game. Steven Adams, Randy Foye, Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Andre Roberson will also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Mitch McGary is questionable for personal reasons.

Dallas is 5-0 ATS after failing to cover, 6-1 against teams with winning home records, 4-1 after a straight up loss, 8-2 in road games, 8-3 against Western Conference teams, 5-2 overall, 33-16-2 against Northwest teams, 3-5 on two days rest, and 1-5 in first round games. The road team is 35-16-2 ATS in this series recently. The underdog is 19-8 ATS recently. The Mavericks are 19-7-1 in OKC recently.

Oklahoma City is 9-2 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 overall and against Western Conference teams, 22-8-2 in Saturday games, and 5-2 after a straight up win. While the over is 5-1 overall in the series, five of the last seven games in OKC between the teams have gone under the total.

Oklahoma City sometimes struggles on defense and closing out close games in the fourth. No team has blown more fourth quarter leads than the Thunder, a puzzling stat for an allegedly elite team. Still, that shouldn’t be an issue against a banged up Mavericks team. It will be an issue against the Spurs in the next round, but first things first. I like the Thunder to beat the Mavericks in five games and it starts with a comfortable game one win Saturday night.

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Posted by on Apr 16 2016. Filed under Headlines, NBA, Uncategorized. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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