NBA Western Conference Finals Preview
The Dallas Mavericks have been patiently waiting after their unexpected four-game sweep of Los Angeles, but with Oklahoma City’s 105-90 victory over Memphis in Game 7 on Sunday night the matchup for the Western Conference Finals is finally set. The best-of-seven series gets underway this Tuesday night in Dallas.
The Thunder had a much easier time of things in their opening round series against Denver with a five-game victory. The only setback was a 104-101 loss in Game 4 as a three-point road underdog. They actually trailed the Grizzlies two games to one in the semifinals, but reeled off three wins in four games to advance to the finals. Oklahoma City is now 6-5-1 against the spread in 12 playoff games with the total going 5-6-1.
Its chances in this series will all hinge on the continued high level of play from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. These two have combined to average 52.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 9.3 assists a game in the postseason. The Thunder are averaging 103 points and 46.6 rebounds a game while holding their opponents to 98.7 points and 41.3 rebounds.
Dallas needed six games to get past Portland in its first round matchup after losing Games 3 and 4 on the road. A shocking 96-94 win over Los Angeles in Game 1 of the conference semifinals paved the way for a four-game sweep of the defending champions. The Mavericks are a perfect 9-0-1 ATS in the playoffs with the total going ‘over’ in six of the 10 games.
Dirk Nowitzki continues to be the biggest star in Dallas and is playing some of his best ball of the year. He has averaged 26.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game in the playoffs which is even better than his 23 point and seven rebound season average. Jason Terry is second in scoring with 18.3 points a game and the addition of Tyson Chandler has paid dividends with 8.7 rebounds a game. As usual, Jason Kidd leads the team in assists with 7.2.
Head-to-head, the Mavericks won two of three regular season games straight-up and were 2-1 ATS. The total went ‘over’ in two of the three games.
Bookmaker.com has the Mavericks as a -278 favorite to win the series with Oklahoma City the underdog at +167. Dallas proved it is for real this year with its sweep of LA, but the combination of Durant and Westbrook proves to be the difference in another thrilling seven-game series win by the Thunder.
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