Western Conference Finals Preview: Mavs vs Thunder

Posted by By at 17 May, at 03 : 03 AM Print

After beating Memphis in Game 7, 105-90, the Oklahoma City Thunder will advance to the Western Conference Finals to play the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas holds home-court advantage so Game 1 will be at the AAC Tuesday night.

After getting 8 days of rest, many people are concerned that this will affect the Mavericks performance. According to coach Carlisle and the team, in account to their older age, rest is definitely a good thing.

While resting, Carlisle had them play mini scrimmages to work on transition defense, rebounding, and efficiency with the ball.

Although the Mavs won 2 out of the 3 meetings against OKC in the regular season, they haven’t met with them since their trade. Both teams have drastically changed for the better; the Thunder brought in Perkins from a mid-season trade to join Durant and Westbrook in offense production and added Ibaka to the starting line-up, while the Mavericks have featured scoring around Nowitzki since Butler’s injury. The Mavs obviously won’t have Butler, who played a major role in their regular season victories over OKC, but the Thunder also haven’t faced Dallas with Peja yet.

It is obvious that the Thunder have a much younger team than Dallas; their average age is 24.3 while the Mavs average is 29.5. But one advantage that the Mavs have over Thunder is experience. Last year was the Thunder’s first playoff appearance as they fought in the first round and lost to the Lakers in 6 games. 38 year old Jason Kidd, with two Finals appearances, will have an advantage of experience while likely matching up with first-time All-star, 22 year old, Russell Westbrook.

Oklahoma City is outscoring opponents 103-99 in the playoffs. They lead all playoff teams in scoring, and are holding opponents to 41% shooting from the field which also leads all playoff teams. They are out-rebounding opponents 46.6-41.3 and have a rebounding margin of +5.3.

Dallas is outscoring opponents 97-88 in the playoffs. Dallas is out-rebounding playoff opponents 39.6-39. Dallas is shooting 47% from the field and holding opponents to 44% shooting. They are shooting 42% from 3-point range in the playoffs.

Mavs vs OKC Previous Regular Season Matchups:
Game 1: November 24th, 2010- Mavs won 113-103
Game 2: December 27th, 2010- Mavs won 103-93
Game 3: January 6th, 2011- OKC won 99-95
Mavs took the series 2-1, with their only loss coming with the absence of Dirk and Butler; Dirk was out with his foot injury and Butler injured his patellar tendon 5 days before. 

This series won’t be easy for either team, as they’re both hungry for a run at a championship, so it should be a great one to watch.

(Serge Ibaka hurt his ankle in Game 7 vs the Grizzlies, but he’s probable to play in Game 1 vs Dallas.)

The Western Conference Finals Series Matchup Schedule is as Follows:
Game 1: Tues, May 17th, OKC@DAL, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
Game 2: Thur, May 19th, OKC@DAL, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
Game 3: Sat, May 21st, DAL@OKC, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
Game 4: Mon, May 23rd, DAL@OKC, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
*Game 5: Wed, May 25th, OKC@DAL, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
*Game 6: Fri, May 27th, DAL@OKC, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
*Game 7: Sun, May 29th, OKC@DAL, 9:00pm ET on ESPN
*If Necessary

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