Dallas Mavericks Look to Make it 7 in a Row Against Thunder


Can the Dallas Mavericks make it 7 in a row against Thunder?

The Dallas Mavericks are hot, winners of six straight games heading in to Sunday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Word is that Kevin Durant will not make his return from a hamstring injury against the Mavs, but Dallas will still be facing a talented roster looking to keep pace in the west.

With Durant on the sidelines the focus for the Mavericks must be to keep Russell Westbrook in check. Easier said than done against a player who boasts a stat line like this: 28.5 ppg, 10.2 apg, 7.9 rpg, and 2.3 spg.

Keeping him out of the paint and off of the free throw line will be key, because he’s content hoisting jumpers from outside if he’s having trouble penetrating. While Westbrook is shooting right around a career-high from three-point land so far, 32.9% from deep isn’t anything to write home about and forcing him into those type of shots is Dallas’ best way of limiting his impact.

The Mavericks will also need another strong performance from big man Zaza Pachulia. The Thunder’s Enes Kanter has posted back-to-back double-doubles heading in to this one, and is shooting over 58% from the floor on the season. Zaza will need to be sharp on the defensive end against Kanter, but also make him work on the other end. Kanter isn’t exactly known for his defensive acumen, so if Pachulia can take advantage of him there the Mavericks will be in a better position to leave OKC with a win.

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The game will also be a test for Dirk Nowitzki. Billy Donovan has two very good defenders to throw at Dirk in Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams. But good offense generally bests good defense in the NBA, and Dirk is as hot as anyone in the league. He’s averaged 20.6 points on 55% shooting from the floor and 65% shooting from distance during the Mavericks’ winning streak.

The game tips off at 6 pm CT. Make sure to follow us @thesmokingcuban for in-game updates and analysis.

Next: Dirk Talks Porzingis

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