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(531) Oklahoma City Thunder at (532) Dallas Mavericks

(531) Oklahoma City Thunder at (532) Dallas Mavericks
May 18, 2024 8PM EDT
Play Rating:
3% – Dallas Mavericks -4.0 (-110)

3% Take Dallas (#532)

The extra rest between Games 5 and 6 really helps the Dallas Mavericks.  Dallas is the veteran team here; Luka has been battling injuries throughout the postseason.  After five consecutive ‘play every other day’ games, the Mavs have had a chance to rest and heal since their Game 5 victory at OKC.  It’s surely worth noting that Jason Kidd’s team closed out the LA Clippers in very similar circumstances in the first round – a series that was tied 2-2 before a Game 5 win on the road and a comfortable 13 point win in the closeout game at home. I’m expecting more of the same here.

The key here is the Mavericks defense, ranked #1 in defensive efficiency down the stretch of the regular season – truly elite after the All Star Break.  OKC hung 117 on the Mavs in Game 1.  Their point total has declined in every game since: 110 in Game 2, 101 in Game 3, 100 in Game 4 and 92 in Game 5.  Things are so dicey for the OKC offense right now that head coach Mark Daignault decided to change his starting lineup, replacing Josh Giddey with Isaiah Joe in Game 5.  That didn’t work either, and a coach tinkering with his starting lineup at this stage of the playoffs is clearly problematic.  Dallas has solved the ‘OKC drive and dish’ problem; the Thunder have been relegated to shooting contested jumpers from three point range.

I’m sure the Thunder are going to fight; not a laydown spot for a hungry young team facing elimination.  But OKC is not a playoff tested, savvy veteran squad who we can trust in a spot like this one.  They don’t have a defensive answer for Luka or Kyrie during crunch time; PJ Washington, Derick Lively and Daniel Gafford are consistently winning the ‘battle of the role players’ against OKC’s supporting cast.  The Thunder enjoyed a great regular season and a solid playoff run, but we can expect it to end on Saturday Night in Dallas.  Take the Mavericks.

Line Parameter: 3% at -4.5 or lower, 2% at -5 or higher

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