NBA betting action has been hot and heavy in this battle between budding regional rivals in the Western Conference Finals. We’re here to sort it all out with our NBA picks on Monday in the Game 4 duel between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks.
NBA Playoffs Preview: Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder Game 4
Date: Monday, May 23rd, 9:00 ET
Location: Oklahoma City Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Game Line: Oklahoma City -4.5
Mavericks Notes: The Mavericks probably didn’t play their best game of this series in Game 3, but their win really has to resonate in their locker room, knowing that they have stolen back home court advantage in this series. Head Coach Rick Carlisle has to be thrilled with the fact that his defense finally showed up big time in a game, marking the first time that his Mavs have held the Thunder under 106 points in this series. He knows if that type of defensive intensity continues, Dallas is going to be a hard side to beat, not just now in the Western Conference Finals, but on the NBA Finals lines as well. There is definitely some room for offensive improvement, especially out of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. These two normally reliable stars only combined for 31 points on Saturday night, but the bigger question is how they only shot 10-of-33 from the field between them. The rest of the club really stepped it up though, and for Nowitzki, who has carried this team in the entire playoffs, this is a very, very welcome sign. The rest of the team shot 26-of-49, a healthy 53.1 percent. Shawn Marion knocked down nine of his 13 shots and tied for the team high with Dirk with 18 points. Jason Kidd chipped in with 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and four steals in his prototypical stat sheet stuffing game as well. The only problem that Carlisle might have with the way that things ultimately panned out in Game 3 is that his team had a 23 point lead and watched it dwindle down to just four, and he knows that that type of play again in the second half of Game 4 will probably see his team coming back to Big D in a good old fashioned shootout tied at two games apiece.
Thunder Notes: Oklahoma City’s back is officially against the wall, and for as tough as it is to win in Dallas, it really cannot afford to lose this game, knowing that it would have to win three in a row to make it to the NBA Finals. Unlike Nowitzki, who picked up a lot of help from his friends on Saturday night, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were basically left out to dry. No one on the team scored more than nine points aside from them, and even though they were dreadful shooting the ball at 15-of-42 between them, the rest of the squad wasn’t all that much better at 12-of-32 combined. The only good thing that Head Coach Scott Brooks was very quick to point out was how aggressive his team was in that comeback attempt in Game 3. This was actually a winnable game at the death, but that comeback just took everything out of them. The Thunder outrebounded Dallas 45-37, including picking up 12 offensive boards, and they blocked a whopping nine shots. In addition to that, Durant and Westbrook fought their way to the foul line a whopping 25 times between them. As a team, Oklahoma City ended up with 36 free throws, and it converted on 32 of them. Dallas only shot 14-of-18 from the charity stripe. Durant’s numbers didn’t look that bad, as he scored 24 points, had 12 rebounds, and five assists, but he went 0-of-8 from beyond the arc, pacing a dismal effort of just 1-of-17 for the Thunder as a team. Westbrook had 30 points, but he only had four assists and turned the ball over seven times.
The Final Word: History will tell us that the Thunder are going to find a way to fight back again in this series. After all, Oklahoma City fought off that 1-0 series hole, and it darn near fought off a 23 point deficit in Game 3. We wouldn’t expect anything less than another stellar effort from Westbrook and Durant, and as long as they keep taking the ball to the rim and drawing contact, good things are going to come their way. In spite of the fact that they have been beaten in their first two home games of their last two series, we are fairly certainly that the Thunder are going to strike back and score a victory in Game 4 by a relatively comfortable margin.
Free NBA Playoffs Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder -4.5
Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction: Oklahoma City 105 – Dallas 97