Fresh off the All Star break, the Thunder has turned in two of its worst performances of the season, but the Dallas Mavericks might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Oklahoma City (40-16) will go for the four-game season sweep of the Mavs (30-27) when the two old rivals get together for another chapter Wednesday night in Dallas. The Thunder will be looking to cure some ills coming off an embarrassing 115-92 home loss to Cleveland on Sunday.
Here are a few things to watch for:
1. Paging Dion Waiters
The Thunder’s starting shooting guard is 1-of-14 from the floor and 0-of-5 from downtown in two games since the break. In fact, Waiters hasn’t done much of anything in that stretch. Waiters has played 65 total minutes in those two games and in addition to making just one shot, he has totaled just four assists and 5 rebounds.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan has defended his guy against a (by OKC standards) pretty aggressive line of media questioning over the past week, but with Andre Roberson back healthy, Waiters’ leash is shrinking.
2. First-round preview?
It’s a weird year in the NBA in the sense that the league isn’t nearly as deep as it has been. Outside of the top four teams in the West, it’s a pile of wanna-bes. As of now, the Thunder would be the No. 3 seed and the Mavs would be the No. 6, which means a first-round matchup in the West playoffs. It would be the first time in years that OKC could potentially face a not-so-tough opening-round opponent. It would also be the first time in 5,000 years that the Thunder didn’t play the Grizzlies.
3. Mavs falling apart?
Let’s be honest, the Mavs weren’t much of a threat to begin with, but at least they were masquerading as one for a good while there. But now Dallas enters Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of its past 19 games. In fact, the surging Trailblazers have actually caught Dallas in the standings. The Mavs could really use a confidence-boosting win over a team like Oklahoma City to get back on track, so expect a dog fight.
Tip time from Dallas is set for 7:30 p.m.