NBA Playoffs Western Conference First Round Game Three: Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks

2016 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #3
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder at #6 Dallas Mavericks
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
American Airlines Center – Dallas, Texas
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -8
Current Line: Oklahoma City -8 1/2
Opening Total: 198
Current Total: 196 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -340 / Mavericks +275
Current Money Line: Thunder -420 / Mavericks +355

The Thunder look to regain control of the series in game three against the Mavericks Thursday in Dallas.
The Thunder look to regain control of the series in game three against the Mavericks Thursday in Dallas.

Each series in the NBA playoffs has gone two games. Thirteen of the sixteen games so far have been decided by 10 points or more and the home team is 14-2 straight up. Game two between the Oklahoma City  Thunder and Dallas Mavericks Monday night bucked both of those trends. After Oklahoma City destroyed Dallas 108-70 in game one, the shorthanded Mavericks stunned the Thunder with an 85-84 upset in game two to steal home court in the series. Now the series switches to Dallas for the next two games, including game three Thursday night.

Oklahoma City is coached by Billy Donovan. Oklahoma City is 55-27 and won the Northwest Division by 11 games over the Portland Trail Blazers and were the #3 seed in the West. OKC is 38-45-3 ATS and the total is 39-45 this season.

Dallas is coached by Rick Carlisle. 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. Dallas is 46-37-1 ATS and the total is 39-44-1 this season.

For game two, Dallas was without guard J.J. Barea plus forwards David Lee and Chandler Parsons. Guard Deron Williams was listed as doubtful with a sports hernia but only played in the first half. OKC was a 14 point favorite and the total was 203 Monday night. In the game one blowout the Mavericks shot under 30% from the field. In game two, the Thunder struggled from the field shooting only 33.7%. OKC’s dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were a combined 15/55 from the field. Durant had 21 points with 9 rebounds and 7 turnovers, but was 7/33 from the field. Westbrook had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists. Still the Thunder led by 7 points midway through the fourth. Dallas took an 85-81 lead with less than a minute left, Durant hit a three pointer to make it 85-84. Dallas guard Raymond Felton normally a very good free throw shooter missed two free throws with 7 seconds left. Durant missed a lay-up and Westbrrok tipped it to center Stephen Adams. Adams appeared to put back the game winner but replays showed it was still on his hands at the buzzer.

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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, Nick Collison, and Andre Roberson will also get minutes in the rotation. Payne and Nazr Mohammed are both questionable.  Forward Mitch McGary is probable for personal reasons.

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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. He is probable with a knee injury. Deron Williams averages 14.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He is doubtful with a hernia. 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 doubtful 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. Jeremy Evans is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Oklahoma City is 9-2 ATS against teams with winning records, 7-2 against teams with winning home records, 6-2 after a straight up win and after a cover, 5-2 overall and against Western Conference teams, 8-17 on two days rest, and 3-9 in Thursday games. The road team is 36-17-2 ATS in this series recently. The Thunder are 14-6-1 ATS in Dallas recently.

Dallas is 9-4 ATS against Western Conference teams, 33-16-2 against Northwest teams, 3-7 at home, 2-6 in first round games and on two days rest, 0-6 in Thursday games, and 0-5 against teams with winning road records. The over is 24-9-1 ATS in this series recently. The underdog is 29-13-1 ATS in this series recently.

Oklahoma City had a propensity to blow fourth quarter leads and not be able to close out close games. Many thought it would hurt them in the playoffs, but perhaps not this soon. Look, OKC is much more talented than Dallas and this will still likely be a short series. Durant isn’t going 7/33 again and still they had chances to win Monday night. I like the Thunder to win game three and get back on track.

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