The Dallas Mavericks visit the Oklahoma City Thunder
I love the home-and-home. It’s one of the regular season’s greatest creations, and what it lacks in variety it makes up for in intrigue. It’s almost like a mini-playoff, usually against a team that you would never, ever, under any circumstances play in the playoffs. Which is cool.
The Mavs and the Thunder are practically playing a home-and-home, although not entirely. The Mavs played the Raps and the Thunder played the Grizzlies, but the overtimer in Dallas is still fresh on everyone’s minds.
The game’s in OKC this time around, and the Thunder are still decidedly lacking in the Durantula department. Again, a pity. In his absence, though, the Thunder are playing like wounded tigers with laser eyes and rabies, pushing the Mavs to the limit and taking down the Grizz. They don’t need the best small forward in the West, apparently. KD is expected to miss out on tonight’s game with the same ankle troubles, meaning OKC gets another crack at the Mavs. This is where it gets tricky. On one hand, you’d expect the better equipped team to take care of business in the second game. They know what to expect from Green and Westbrook, and don’t have their gameplan scrambled around by planning for Durant. On the other, a previously hungry OKC team may now be nothing short of ravenous, and could feast on a the Mavs if they show up even the least bit lacksidasical. Or will a team with few offensive options outside of Kevin Durant snap out of it and realize what they really are? SO MANY VARIABLES, PEOPLE.
Regardless of the turnout, last week’s preface provided a backdrop to an otherwise meaningless game. No offense to the Thunder, but without Durant they’re small fries. But, armed with the knowledge that this team is capable of getting all up in their biznass, the Mavs should be able to respond in ways that capitalize on the differential in talent and the fairly transparent strategy the Thunder will no doubt employ. Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook are both awesome, but can they really beat the Mavs on their own when Dallas knows what’s coming?
EDIT: Thanks for the heads up from commenter Marrrkus – Jeff Green will not play tonight (back spasms). Source.