Mavericks vs. Thunder: Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki Must Score 30-Plus in Game 2

Jeff GrantContributor IApril 29, 2012

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 04:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after scoring against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center on January 4, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. Nowitzki was playing in his 1,000 career game.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks (0-1) and Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0) will continue their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:30 ET on TNT.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Thunder as 6.5-point favorites, which happens to be a point lower than the betting odds in their 99-98 home win to open up the series on Saturday. The total has already moved 1.5 points in a downward direction and has settled in at 194.5.

Dallas is definitely still alive heading into Game 2, but Dirk Nowitzki will need to score 30-plus points in order to send this series back to the Lone Star State knotted up at a game apiece. He finished with 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting in the opener.

The Mavericks' All-Star forward averaged 32.2 points per game in eliminating the Thunder in five games in last year's Western Conference Finals, which included hitting 59-of-61 shots from the charity stripe.

Sports bettors will find that the Mavericks are 3-0-1 against the spread (ATS) when trailing in a playoff series over the last two-plus years, while the "under" is 4-0 in that situation.

Oklahoma City managed to hold on to its home-court advantage in this series due to Kevin Durant's game-winning shot in the final seconds, but must remain focused against the defending NBA champions. He combined with fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook to score 53 points in the contest.

The Thunder will likely be held under the century mark for the fourth straight time by the Mavericks, as the "under" is 5-0 in their last five games when leading a playoff series.

Expect a low-scoring game with Nowitzki working his magic in the fourth quarter.