The Dallas Mavericks begin their quest for a second consecutive NBA title against one of their key conquests from their first title. Dallas opens its championship defense Saturday night against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that bowed out in five games in last year’s Western Conference finals. The Thunder bounced back nicely during the shortened 2011-12 campaign, posting the second-best record in the West thanks to spectacular seasons from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Mavericks Thunder Betting
When: 9:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 28, 2012
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Dallas Mavericks (36-30): It wasn’t an easy regular season for the defending champs, who lost center Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks and weren’t able to replace his defensive intensity in the paint. Making matters worse was a drawn-out fiasco with forward Lamar Odom that eventually led to he and the team parting ways. The Mavericks worked through the distraction and qualify for the postseason, but a better showing on the road will be imperative to the team’s title chances. Dallas went just 13-20 away from American Airlines Center, the second-worst road mark of any team to reach the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19): Durant won his third consecutive scoring title, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan (2006-08) to accomplish the feat. He had plenty of help on the scoresheet, with Westbrook (23.8 ppg) and sixth man James Harden (16.8) fueling the league’s third-ranked offense. Getting past the Mavericks will require the Thunder to avoid the fourth-quarter meltdowns that plagued them in their final two losses of the Western Conference final. Dallas rallied from 15 points down to win Game 4, then wiped out a seven-point deficit in the final six minutes of Game 5.
1. Oklahoma City won three of four regular-season meetings between the teams.
2. Durant averaged 25.5 points and 8.3 rebounds against the Mavericks this season.
3. Dallas went 32-34 against the spread in the regular season, while Oklahoma City was 35-31.
PREDICTION: Thunder 101, Mavericks 95. CLICK HERE for 500 Handicappers Package FOR 5$