Dallas Mavericks: 5 Reasons Why the Mavs Will Bring Down the Thunder

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMay 21, 2011

Dallas Mavericks: 5 Reasons Why the Mavs Will Bring Down the Thunder

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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

    After a decisive opening game win in the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks were out-scored, out-played and out-hustled in Game 2.

    But don't think that the Thunder are in the driver's seat now.

    Far from it.

    The Mavericks are a veteran team that knows what it takes to bounce back...and bounce back quickly.

    Here are five reasons why the Mavericks will take Game 3 on the Thunder's home court and go up 2-1 in the series.

5. James Harden Will Wake Up

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts after making a three-pointer 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 Airlin
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    James Harden was lights-out in Game 2, scoring 23 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out four assists and making two steals.

    Talk about filling up the box score.

    But Harden will not duplicate that kind of game again.

    He will wake up and most likely score about 14 points.

    He will have a nice game, but he won't torch the Mavs like he did in Dallas in Game 2.

    Not gonna happen!

4. Peja Will Start Hitting Shots Again

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 17:  Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 17, 2011 in Dallas, Te
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The reason the Mavs brought in Peja was to give them another long-distance shooter on the floor.

    Against the Lakers, Stojakovic was 11-for-21 from beyond the arc, scoring in double figures in three out of the four games against Los Angeles.

    So far against OKC, Peja is three-for-eleven from downtown (.272) and four-for-fourteen overall, scoring 11 points in the opening two games of this series combined.

    Saturday night, Peja will find his stroke and will again provide another offensive weapon off the bench.

3. The Thunder Will Not Hit 56 Percent from the Field Again

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 17:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder posts up Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 17, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    In Game 1, the Mavs held OKC to 47 percent shooting from the field.

    Even though they scored 112 points, Dallas did a decent job at challenging shots and limiting second-chance opportunities.

    In Game 2, the Thunder shot a blistering 56 percent from the floor.

    You are NOT going to beat most teams, but especially a team as talented as the Thunder if you allow them to shoot that kind of percentage.

    And the Thunder's bench were unconscious in Game 2, shooting a combined 16-for-23 from the floor...a sizzling 70 percent!

    If the Mavs don't get a hand in the Thunder shooters' faces, they can and will hit shots.

    But Rick Carlisle will have his team ready and we will not see another shooting display like we did in Dallas on Thursday night.

2. Shawn Marion Will Be a Defensive Nuisance

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 19
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Shawn Marion has not had a good first two games of this series.

    His numbers aren't horrible, averaging 10 points and 7.5 boards.

    But Marion's value to the Mavs is more than scoring and rebounds.

    He still is a great on-ball defender, and when he is disrupting the game on the defensive end, it usually gets his Dallas teammates going there too.

    Marion can guard so many positions that Rick Carlisle can move him around to check Durant for a while, and then move over and pester Seflosha or Harden for a time.

    If Marion doesn't score any more than he already has in the first two games, that's okay...as long as he brings the pressure and heat on D. 

1. Dirk Will Come Up Huge in Game 3

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot against Serge Ibaka #9 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
    Pool/Getty Images

    Dirk Nowitzki went from scoring 48 in the opener to scoring a mere 13 points through three quarters in Game 2.

    He didn't even score in the third period, taking just two shots in nearly nine minutes.

    Don't count on Dirk duplicating that in any of the four quarters in Game 3.

    He will play aggressively and take the action to the Thunder, just like he did in the fourth quarter in Game 2 when he scored 16 in the fourth quarter.

    Nowitzki may not put up four dozen again, but the Big German is likely to have another Big Game on Saturday night in OKC.