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The Western Conference Finals was definitely setup in weird fashion this year, as one series ended in a sweep, while the other ended in the only seven game series thus far i the playoffs. Here at Cappers Info, we have all of our NBA picks and our Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks series predictions!
How the Thunder Can Win This Series
It’s pretty clear that the Thunder are essentially revolving around two players right now. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are clearly the heart and soul of this team. When they’re on, Oklahoma City is tough to beat. When they’re off, they’re in a whole heck of a lot of trouble.
So far in the playoffs, Westbrook has taken more shots than Durant, but he doesn’t have the bigger statistics. Westbrook has put up great numbers though at 23.9 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game. The problem has really come in the form of turnovers, and those 4.5 blunders per game badly need to be cut down. Durant has been great too, averaging 28.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, though we would love to see that 45.8 percent shooting percentage creep up just a tad.
The rest of the team doesn’t have fantastic stats, especially since there are only two other players on the team that are averaging even six points per game. However, the contributions of players like Nazr Mohammed, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins in the post just cannot be ignore. These three have really helped transform this team into one that plays a heck of a lot more defense and is a lot less inclined to just try to run and gun with whomever the opposition is.
Still, Oklahoma City needs to at least pick up the pace just a tad in this series to make sure that the Mavericks don’t get locked in defensively. If Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and the two time defending NBA champs, the Los Angeles Lakers were stymied by this defense, we can only imagine what Oklahoma City could end up falling victim to if it isn’t careful.
How the Mavericks Can Win This Series
There is no team in the league that has been more impressive thus far in the postseason than the Mavs. They not only stormed through the Portland Trail Blazers, a team which many thought would be a relatively trendy upset choice, but they also absolutely destroyed the aforementioned Lakers in arguably the most important series in the history of the franchise.
The question is whether this team can really get over the hump or not. Many think that Dirk Nowitzki might be one of the, if not the best player to never win a championship in the history of the league, and almost certainly is the greatest player of our time to not have a ring yet. Dallas has had a history of choking deep in the playoffs, and even in the NBA Finals after taking a 2-0 series lead against the Miami Heat from a few years back.
Dirk has really looked like a man on a mission in this postseason, though. He has averaged 26.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, and he is doing all of the clutch playoff things that he historically hasn’t been able to do. Dirk is shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from long range. Speaking of devastating long range shooting though, look at what Jason Terry has done! He has knocked down just a slew of triples, and he is shooting a dead even 50.0 percent from the land of trey in the postseason.
The defense has been second to none in the playoffs, though. Teams are only averaging 88 points per game against the Mavs this year, and if all of that keeps up, this too, could be a relatively short series.
The Last Word – There is definitely some potential complacency here for the Mavericks having just knocked off the champs, but this is the first time that the Thunder have been in this spot in their brief history since moving from Seattle. In the end, three point shooting will probably be the difference in this series, and we just think that Dallas is playing a lot better right now overall than are the Thunder, who really had to struggle to take care of a game bunch of Memphis Grizzlies. It won’t be the prettiest series in the world, but it is certainly going to be competitive and could come down to that very last game. The Mavs have fought hard to get to this spot and to earn that home court advantage in Game 7, and they’ll make it pay off just as Oklahoma City did on Sunday. NBA Playoffs Picks: Mavericks in 7