OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

Game 32 Preview: Mavs at Thunder

Tipoff Time: 8:00PM EST

Game Preview

Previous Game Analysis

When we last visited the Mavericks, they were actually a struggling team.  The outstanding question was whether they had become too old and stodgy to compete in the highly competitive Western Conference.  They had struggled to beat the likes of the Pistons and Hawks.  It really wasn’t until they faced the Thunder and looking into the eye of defeat again that they suddenly woke up and  erupted to play dominant basketball for the past month.  It was that 4th quarter against the Thunder where Nowitzki and the gang transformed into the current winning juggernaut.

So, you know, from all of us in Thunder-land to the Mavs, you’re welcome.

In the first game, the Thunder were cruising right along until that fateful 4th, when they stopped doing all the things they do well.  This point in time was a mere 15 games into the season.  Since then, they have resolved to not fall apart in the 4th quarter, and boast a strong record when the game is close in the closing minutes.  They have accomplished this through a tightening on defense that grows stronger as the game goes on.  They have been adept at halftime adjustments and minimizing the weaknesses that typically hit the Thunder hard in the 1st quarter.  I like the fact that, instead of trying to come back from 10 point deficits all at once, they have learned to take a more gradual approach and chip away to get back in games.  It is a sign of their growing maturity.

All eyes will be on the pair of tall lanky forwards in this game.  Through eight games, Nowitzki has an average of 33.8 ppg, 8 boards, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals.  Durant has not measured up, and I would love to see him see it as a personal challenge to emulate Nowitzki’s production.

Patience will once again be a virtue , as all eyes will follow Durant to see if he can keep the flow alive.

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