The defending champion Mavericks take on the team that they beat in last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Thunder, in this year’s first round.
This year’s series looks like it will have a different result, as the Thunder are arguably the best team in basketball, and definitely favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
The Thunder could not hold the #1 seed in the West, but that is tough to do when the Spurs go on a ten-game win streak to end the season. Having the second seed is actually a good thing for the Thunder, as the Jazz are coming into the playoffs with great momentum.
OKC simply needs to continue to use the formula that they have used all year, which involves letting Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant run the show. They also get James Harden involved, who seems to be recovering well after the vicious elbow he received from Metta World Peace. It also helps that they have Derek Fisher on the team, as his experience can only help in their quest for a title.
Dallas was at a disadvantage coming into the season, which was partially their own fault. They were unable to sign key players from the team that won the title, including Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea, and did not start the season ready to play. This was evident by the fact that Dirk needed to take time off just to get in game shape.
The Mavs have been fairly average all season, and they seem to be headed towards an early playoff exit. They really could have used Lamar Odom in this season, but he clearly had no intention of playing for Dallas, just receiving their money. Unless Dirk has another unbelievable run, the Mavs simply do not have enough pieces in play to win another championship, let alone beat the Thunder.
Thunder-Mavericks Prediction: Thunder in five
Thunder-Mavericks Series Schedule
- Saturday 4/28: Mavericks at Thunder
- Monday 4/30: Mavericks at Thunder
- Thursday 5/3: Thunder at Mavericks
- Saturday 5/5: Thunder at Mavericks
- *Monday 5/7: Mavericks at Thunder
- *Thursday 5/10: Thunder at Mavericks
- *Saturday 5/12: Mavericks at Thunder