Thunder vs. Mavs Game 3 Preview: Will OKC Respond?


Thursday, April 21st 2016, 6:32 am
By: News 9


Let’s just admit it – no one saw that Game 2 loss coming.

Sure, most expected Dallas to play better than it did in its 108-70 Game 1 loss, but without J.J. Barea and with a severely hobbled Deron Williams, a loss still felt inevitable.

But thanks to grizzled veteran Raymond Felton (21 points, 11 rebounds) and an energetic boost from rookie wing Justin Anderson, Dallas did the unthinkable and actually beat the full-strength Thunder, 85-84, at Chesapeake Arena.

The result was a stunner, but when you realize that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 15-of-55 from the floor, it’s almost amazing that Dallas didn’t win by more than one.

That’s the Mavs’ margin for error in this thing – if either one of OKC’s superstars play well, its lights out for Big D.

Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 17 points in Dallas’ Game 2 win, is no longer in his prime. There’s no danger of him going off for 40 on any given night. With a gimpy Williams and no Chander Parsons, most of the Mavs’ top scoring threats are either hindered or sidelined.

So with all that said, Game 3 should be a cinch, right?

With this Thunder team, who knows? Oklahoma City’s propensity to cough up leads in the fourth quarter has apparently carried over to the postseason, and if Dallas can keep Game 3 close, it will have its home crowd behind ‘em in crunch time.

What we do know is that OKC missed an opportunity to essentially put the series away. History shows that teams that go up 2-0 are virtual locks to advance to the next round.

The Thunder are still the overwhelming favorites to win this series, especially if Game 3 goes their way. Keep an eye on the Mavs' injury situation; Barea and Williams could go either way at this point, meanwhile it looks like Dirk will give it a go despite general soreness.

Tip time from Dallas is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday so you might want to dip out of work a little early.

The Thunder are still the overwhelming favorites to win this series, especially if Game 3 goes their way. Keep an eye on the Mavs' injury situation; Barea and Williams could go either way at this point, meanwhile it looks like Dirk will give it a go despite general soreness.

J.J. doing better, will know in morning if he plays. Shot and ran in practice today. #News9Thunder pic.twitter.com/mp7dBwVApH

— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 20, 2016

Carlisle said Deron Williams will be a game time decision tomorrow.

— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) April 20, 2016

Dirk expects to play tomorrow night, said he could barely walk off the team plane Monday night, doing much better today. #News9Thunder

— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 20, 2016

Tip time from Dallas is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday so you might want to dip out of work a little early.

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Can the Thunder bounce back from a disappointing Game 2 loss?

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