NBA Playoffs 2011: 10 Bold Predictions for Dallas vs. OKC
In today's game, the Memphis Grizzlies—everyone's favorite underdog—had no answer for Oklahoma City.
While it was a great story for the Grizzlies, the Thunder and Mavericks will present a more interesting matchup.
The Thunder are a young, dynamic team led by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The Mavs are an aging team led by older stars Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki.
In a clash of young versus old, we certainly have ourselves an entertaining matchup.
Dirk Nowitzki Will Continue His Outstanding Play
The 7-foot German drafted by the Bucks 13 years ago is without a doubt the best foreign player in NBA history. While some argue he's one of the top 10 best players in NBA history, I say he must show me some rings first.
Anyway, if you think Dirk will let Serge Ibaka get in his way, think again.
At 32, Nowitzki wants a ring more than ever. He'll have several 30-point games.
Jason Kidd Will Be Benched Due to Russell Westbrook's Youth
At 38, it's about time for Jason Kidd to walk away from the game. He's had a great career, but he isn't performing like he used to.
The young and explosive Russell Westbrook is much quicker than Kidd, and the Dallas point guard just won't be able to stop him.
Expect JJ Barea to see some quality minutes in this series.
Russell Westbrook Will Not Be Stopped
Named to the All-NBA second team, Westbrook is a force to be reckoned with.
Whether it's dribbling through defenders or finding the open cutter, Westbrook will usually make good plays.
In Game 7 against the Grizzlies, he found Kevin Durant under the basket 24/7.
I wish Dallas the best of luck defending him.
Kevin Durant Will Be Inconsistent
Though he's averaging 28 points a game in the postseason, you can't really call Durant's play consistent.
The Mavs will switch up defenders on him because I don't believe Shawn Marion will be able to play against the lanky OKC forward all game.
When he shoots lights out, the Thunder will win. When he plays poorly, the Mavericks will have the upper hand.
There Will Be Several Blowouts
As evidenced by the series against the Lakers, the Mavs are capable of blowing out very good teams.
Additionally, as evidenced by games the Thunder play, they are also capable of blowing out formidable opponents.
On their home courts, both of these teams have been good—extremely good.
Expect a couple of blowouts at home in the first four games, as the crowd will be the decisive factor.
James Harden Will Quietly Put Up Amazing Numbers
Quickly think about a Thunder player. You thought of Westbrook or Durant, right?
Well, I don't blame you. They are the team's two best players.
James Harden has quietly put up solid numbers for OKC though, and he will give them another scoring threat.
Throughout the series, Harden will sneakily put up 15 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Jason Terry Will Continue His Sterling Play
Against the Lakers, "JET" put up 19.8 points a game on 58.7 percent shooting. He was no slouch against the Blazers either, averaging 17.3 points a game on 48.8 percent accuracy.
Terry has provided a great bench presence and gave the Mavs energy when they needed it.
Expect him to do the same against the Thunder, as he will do all he can to keep Dallas competitive.
Nick Collison Will Not Be as Effective as He Was Against the Grizzlies
On most NBA teams, there's one player who comes off the bench and gives it his all. He works as hard as he can to make his team succeed.
That player for the Thunder is Nick Collison.
Whenever they needed someone to step up and take the pressure off their starters, Collison was their guy.
I'm not saying he'll be atrocious, but I just don't think he'll be able to play with the same effectiveness as he did against the Grizzlies.
Thunder Will Win in Six
With the acquisition of Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder gave themselves a physical player inside.
The former Boston Celtic has put up great offensive numbers, and he's exactly what the Thunder needed.
On the other hand, Dallas just can't seem to give Dirk and Terry the help they need.
The Thunder will force a split in Dallas,and proceed to take the next two at home. Dallas will win Game 5 and succumb to the Thunder in Game 6 at home.
Mark Cuban Will Sit Through a Game-6 Loss Relatively Unnoticed
To say the least, Mark Cuban is one of the more outgoing owners in all of sports.
He'll let you know his opinion whether you like it or not. He won't be shy about the language he uses in doing so either.
Whenever he feels something is wrong or believes the officiating is bad, expect to hear him scream—just not in Game 6.
As his Mavs are on the brink of elimination, the impossible will happen—he'll sit through the loss and not complain about a thing.