2011 NBA Playoffs

2011 NBA Playoff Preview: Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Game 3

Roberto PayneContributor IOctober 12, 2016

2011 NBA Playoff Preview: Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Game 3

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts in the fourth quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 19, 2011 in
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder play Game 3 of their series tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET at the Oklahoma City Arena. The series is now tied at 1-1 and Game 3 is a must-win for both teams.

    Usually, when the series is tied, the winner of Game 3 goes on to win the series. It should be action packed and no doubt will be a great game. Read on to see who has the upper hand in Game 3.

How Game 2 Was Won

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks the ball over Brendan Haywood #33 of the Dallas Mavericks as Haywood is called for a foul in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playo
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Kevin Durant went absolutely nuts with his dunk over Brendan Haywood and energized his Thunder squad early on. He went on to score 24 points but the dunk was the turning point in the game.

    Also, the Thunder got 50 points from their bench, including 23 points from James Harden and 13 points from Eric Maynor. It was an overall solid game from the Thunder.

    The Mavs were led by Dirk Nowitzki's 29 points but their bench was not nearly as effective as the Thunder bench. Regardless, they were only down by four in the final seconds, but Peja Stojakovic missed a three-pointer with nine seconds left and they were shut out at the free throw line after that.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Keys to a Game 3 Victory

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kendrick Perkins #5 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder wait to enter the game in the third quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Ameri
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Oklahoma City Thunder have a great home-court advantage and they should be pumped to be in front of their great fans again. They will no doubt come out with a ton of energy and should look to be aggressive out of the gate.

    Russell Westbrook will be in attack mode to start off and when the defense starts to key on him, he will defer to Durant and let him go off.

    The Thunder should get more production out of Durant and Westbrook this game, but their bench still needs to be in the 30-35 point range. The Thunder are at their best when their bench scores consistently and plays solid defense.

    Also, they need to keep taking smart shots, as they did in Game 2. In Game 2, they shot 56 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line. They need to continue to capitalize on high-percentage shots and make the Mavs pay for fouling them.

Dallas Mavericks: Keys to a Game 3 Victory

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks posts up Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 19, 2011
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Mavs didn't play bad in Game 2, but they were out done by the bench of the Thunder. The Mavs need to make James Harden be a facilitator when he is on the floor. If James Harden is allowed to score 15-plus points a game, the Thunder are a very solid team. If Harden is not the leading bench scorer, then another less proven player will have to step up.

    They also need to continue to convert on the Thunder's turnovers. They had 17 points off turnovers in Game 2, but if would help them dramatically if they could get 4-7 more points off turnovers.

    Last, but not least, they have to continue to run the offense through Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk is the key to the Mavs offense and they should lean on him, especially in a hostile environment. Look for Dirk to have 30-plus points.

Who Wins Game 3?

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  (R-L) Thabo Sefolosha #2, Serge Ibaka #9 and Nazr Mohammed #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder react late in the fourth quarter before the Thunder defeat the Dallas Mavericks 106-100 in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during th
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Before the series, I thought the Oklahoma City Thunder would win and I think Game 3 will be the game to make or break them. I believe the winner of this game will have the upper hand for the remainder of the series.

    Look for Durant and Westbrook to really give the home crowd something to cheer about. Dirk will not let this happen without making a huge impact on the game but he will do so in a loosing effort.

    Oklahoma City Thunder win, 109-103.

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