(3) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (6) Dallas Mavericks
Regular seasons series: Thunder won 4-0
Key matchup: Kevin Durant (28/8/5) vs. Dirk Nowitzki (18/6/1)
The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming into the Playoffs with a strong determination to win it all this year after having a horrible 2014-15 campaign. Now that they are a healthy team, the Thunder are one of the favorites to win it all.
On the other side, the Dallas Mavericks are a newly-built team this season after acquiring many of their key players, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia, Wesley Mathews and David Lee through free agency signings and trades.
The Mavericks lineup is not complete though without their standout Power Forward, Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk has been playing at a consistent pace for the last few years and is showing no signs of slowing down.
In the season series between these two squads, the Oklahoma City Thunder swept the Dallas Mavericks 4-0 with an average point differential margin of 9.5.
The Mavericks Kryptonite is the Thunder because OKC are the best rebounding team in the NBA today. Out of all of their games this season, the Thunder have been out-rebounding them. The other problem for the Mavs is scoring.
Most of their key players are not consistent throughout the season. If Dirk has a bad night, who will pick up the scoring? This is not a problem for the Thunder, who have 2 of the best players and scorers in the league, namely Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who are both having stellar seasons and hoping to win it all this year.
The Key Factors
The key matchup for this series is Kevin Durant vs Chandler Parson.
Kevin Durant (28/8/5) and Russell Westbrook (23/10/8) vs Chandler Parson (13/4/2) and Deron Williams (14/6/3) won’t be decided on how well each duo performs on the offensive end, it’ll be decided by how well Chandler Parson and Deron Williams can defend the Thunder duo. If Kevin Durant can be held down to below 20 points per game and Russell Westbrook can be off his game for the entire series, the Mavs may have a chance to win this series.
Does that scenario sound impossible to you? In my opinion, it does. It is highly unlikely that both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook perform badly for an entire 7-game series.
Prediction by Edbert Pasamba: Oklahoma Thunder 4-1 Dallas Mavericks