The new look Mavericks will get to meet a familiar foe as they head to Wichita, Kansas to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game marks the final preseason game for the Thunder, while the Mavs still have one more game of practice against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. The Thunder head into the game with a 3-3 record. The Mavericks head to Kansas with a preseason record of 3-3. With two games left, they have a chance to finish the preseason with a record of .500 or better. Since 2000, the Mavericks have finished the preseason at or above .500 eight times and recorded a franchise-high six preseason wins in both 2000 and 2005.
Here are notes of interest as the Mavericks face the Thunder.
The Thunder and the Mavericks met twice in the 2011 preseason and Oklahoma City won both games…The Mavericks have won 24 of the last 34 regular-season meetings with the Thunder franchise, but Oklahoma City has taken four of the most recent five. Oklahoma City took the 2011-12 season series with Dallas, 3-1. The Mavericks have gone 3-4 in their seven trips to Oklahoma City in the regular season. The Mavericks will definitely miss Dirk against the Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki averaged a team-high 22.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 37.5 minutes in four regular-season games against the Thunder in 2011-12. He recorded his 8,000th career made field goal vs. Oklahoma City on 1/2/12. Shawn Marion averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 31.5 minutes. Vince Carter averaged 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 19.8 minutes against Oklahoma City. The Thunder swept the Mavericks (4-0) in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. That marked the first time a Dirk-led team was swept out of any round of the playoffs.
It’s a Small World:
Mavericks guard Darren Collison and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook were teammates at UCLA for two seasons, 2006-08, and reached the Final Four together both years. Mavericks guard Roddy Beaubois was originally drafted by the Thunder in the first round, 25th overall pick, of the 2009 NBA Draft, before having his draft rights traded to the Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Byron Mullens, 24th overall selection. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks played for the Mavericks from 1995-96. Brooks and Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle were teammates and roommates on the CBA’s Albany Patroons in 1987.
Mavericks guard Delonte West played his first three NBA seasons with Thunder center Kendrick Perkins in Boston from 2004-07. Perkins played part of his rookie season, 2003-04, under Mavericks assistant coach Jim O’Brien while O’Brien was the head coach of the Celtics. West also played briefly with Thunder forward Nick Collison in Seattle in 2007-08 and again with Perkins in Boston in 2010-11. Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo and Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet both began their NBA careers in Memphis and were teammates on the Grizzlies for one-and-a-half seasons from 2009-11. Mayo was the third overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft and Thabeet was the second overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.
With the preseason winding down, it’s important to note who is and isn’t actually playing in games. Vince Carter and Shawn Marion did not travel with the Mavericks as they were given the game off to rest. Chris Kaman is still unavailable with a strained right calf. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did not play in the Thunder’s game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night due to a scheduled night off. They will be available (sarcastic yay) for the game against the Mavericks. With an expected full roster for the Thunder and a depleted roster for the Mavericks, you just never know what to expect. Fans of the Mavericks know that any time they would face a depleted Spurs team, they would scratch and claw and even steal some games against the Mavericks. Things look lopsided on paper, but that’s why they play the games.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.