NBA Free Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks Game 2

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The Dallas Mavericks were able to romp through Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, and they are all set to move on to take a 2-0 series lead on Thursday night. Standing in their way will be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are going to hope to slow down the Dallas assault in this big time clash of the last two teams standing in the Wild, Wild West.

NBA Playoffs Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks Game 2
Date: Thursday, May 19th, 9:00 ET
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Game Line: Dallas -5.5
Over/Under 199.5

Thunder Notes: Maybe fatigue really did have something to do with the way that the Thunder played in Game 1. Head Coach Scott Brooks was determined to convince the NBA betting public that his team was in a lot better shape having not had the full week off like the Mavericks did. After watching Dallas roll off 121 points, we don’t exactly believe him anymore. To Oklahoma City’s credit, it did get the Mavericks to play the style of game that it would have wanted, one that is up and down the court for the full 48 minutes. And, much to the Thunder’s credit as well, they didn’t ever give up on the game and fought down to the very last shot in spite of the fact that they were never really able to get within striking distance in the second half. More good news: The leading scorer in the NBA acted like he was the leading scorer in the NBA. There was never a doubt that Kevin Durant would have a field day in this series, and he definitely didn’t disappoint. He shot 10-of-18 from the field and 18-of-19 from the charity stripe, accounting for 40 points and eight rebounds, both of which led the team. The problem came in the form of Russell Westbrook, who really hasn’t played all that well over the course of the last few weeks in the postseason. He shot just 3-of-15 from the floor and had 20 points, but he also only had three assists and turned the ball over four times. That just won’t cut it in this series, as he is going to have to both shoot the ball better and keep better tabs on the rock for the Thunder to be able to win games.

Mavericks Notes: You thought that the Thunder did an awesome job with Durant getting all of his points? Dirk Nowitzki is scoffing at Durant. The German National star was absolutely a one man wrecking crew out there, and every time that he touched the basketball, something good happened. He was a terror to the interior defenders for Oklahoma City, coming up with 48 points. Half of those came at the foul line, where Nowitzki went a perfect 24-of-24. He wasn’t too shabby from the field either at 12-of-15. The rest of the starters for the Mavs only combined for 20 points, but it certainly didn’t matter. Between what Dirk and the bench were able to come up with, nothing else mattered. Jason Terry was expected to go absolutely bananas, and he did just that, scoring 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including hitting four of the nine three pointers that Dallas nailed on the night. The unexpected star was the littlest man on the court, Jose Juan Barea. He shot 8-of-12 from the field and had 21 points in his biggest game of his career, and he was really the difference maker, as no one was able to guard his slashes to the hoop. Dallas as a team shot 34-of-36 from the free throw line and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. A shooting performance of 53.4 percent from the field was tremendous, and if those numbers keep up, there is no way that Oklahoma City is going to be able to compete.

The Final Word: It’s pretty clear that Nowitzki isn’t going to be able to give more than he gave in Game 1, nor will Terry nor Barea. Will there be another star ready to step up? We’re really not all that certain that there is anyone else out there that can make it so the Mavericks improve much from Game 1. Oklahoma City definitely has some room to improve, especially with Westbrook’s shooting. We love how aggressive that the Thunder were on Tuesday night, and as is the case in a lot of situations, blind aggression is usually rewarded. Oklahoma City is too young to realize that it should be intimated right now, and it will come back and spring the upset in Game 2 to level this series at a game apiece.

Free NBA Playoffs Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder +5.5
Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction: Oklahoma City 102 – Dallas 98

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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