The Oklahoma City Thunder are going with "Team is One" for the playoffs.
The Spurs? Don't appear to have one, but something like, "We're the only team in this town, we win a lot, and we don't need no stinkin' gimmicks".
The Lakers are slogan-less. Usually "We're the Lakers and You're Not" works.
The Clippers are going with, "What Do We Do Now?"
The Nuggets could use, "This Is Going To Be Quick".
Your Mavericks are the seventh seed, and will face the NBA's scoring champion in former Texas star Kevin Durant. Game 1 is Saturday night in OKC at 8:30 p.m. CT.
If you don't recall, the Mavs defeated the Thunder in the West Finals last spring. The teams are just a bit different this year. The Thunder won the season series, 3-1.
12/29/11 OKC, 104-102 in OKC Here is the ending of that fun game:
1/2/12 Mavs, 100-87 in Dal
2/1/12 OKC, 95-86 in Dal
3/5/12 OKC, 95-92 in OKC
a.) They can rebound with the Thunder. In the four game series, the Thunder out-rebounded the Mavs, 44.8 to 39.8. This stat has to be at least even for the Mavs.
b.) Durant is going to get his, but Thunder guard Russell Westbrook must shoot a lot, and miss. This worked in last year's playoffs as Westbrook was a black hole. Westbrook averaged 22.8 points on 39% percent shooting against the Mavs this season.
c.) Dirk is the best player in the fourth quarter. Dirk's biggest transformation last spring was his ability to become the best player in the fourth quarter of every playoff game. If he is driving and attacking the rim, the Mavs have a shot. If he is settling for off-balanced jumpers over 6-foot-3 defenders, no way.
d.) Prayer. Who knows? Can't hurt, right?
PREDICTION: This happens with all good young teams as they grow: They go "through" some veteran team en route to the top. The Thunder have been through the playoffs now, got their teeth kicked in, and are mature enough to defeat a Mavericks team that just is not the same as one year ago.
The Mavs are older, tired, and clearly are fighting a case of "Been there, done thats". These guys know the score. Last year's team had energy whereas this team appears to be fighting itself to be interested.
Thunder in six.
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