Time: 6PM CST
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Local TV: FSSW-DAL, FSOK
Radio: WWSL 98.1FM OKC
After snapping a two game losing streak in a win against the Phoenix Suns, the Oklahoma City Thunder continue their battle in the Western Conference as they go up against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are desperately in search of a victory after encountering tough losses on the road and winning 3 out of their last 10 games.
Despite being ranked 12th in the Western Conference, the Mavericks, when playing on their home court, are a different team. They are 14-3 when playing on their home court and 2-15 when playing on the road, with those 14 home wins second to only the Warriors on their home court.
In the last game, the Thunder lost by double digits in that match up (111-96) playing without Russell Westbrook. Yet it was the defense that struggled most, as the Mavericks had a 55.8% field goal percentage and a 48.3% 3-point percentage. Meanwhile, that Dallas defense, which is middle of the pack according to defensive rating statistics, held the Thunder to 39.2% field goal percentage and 26.5% 3-point percentage.
That said, the shooting percentages largely rest on the Thunder working patiently to produce open looks. If they fail to do this, the exact scenario against the Rockets on Christmas day is going to happen again where OKC’s solid defense will not be enough.
On the bright side, Westbrook is also getting back on track offensively as his game against the Suns was his first 25 point game this month and his first since scoring 30 against the Hornets on November 23rd. He is looking more solid since returning from that ankle sprain injury, hitting over 50% of his shots Phoenix and 3-7 from three. His offensive consistency, combined with Paul George’s offensive abilities, will definitely make a huge difference in closing out games, and will be needed in Dallas tonight.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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