The Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Now, their season is hanging in the balance, and they really have to make for successful NBA picks against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination.
Give the defense for the Mavs all the credit in the world, as for once, this unit really came out and did what we knew it was capable of in Game 3 to take control of this series once again. The ‘D’ held down Oklahoma City to just 36.5 percent shooting from the field, and about the only bugaboo was that the team committed 24 personal fouls, seven more than the Thunder did. The truth of the matter was if not for the foul line, Dallas would have run away and hid a long, long time before it did in Game 3, and it never would have been as close as it was. OKC took 36 free throws on the day and hit 32 of them. Dallas only went 14-of-18 from the charity stripe. All things considered, it wasn’t a great game for the Mavericks offensively either. Sure, they led by as many as 23 points, but they only shot 43.9 percent from the floor, and their leader, Dirk Nowitzki only had 18 points. However, it was a great time for Shawn Marion to step up and have arguably the best game that he has had in quite some time, as he knocked down 9-of-13 from the floor and scored 18 points.
The good news for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is that they continued to show their aggression by taking the ball to the hoop and drawing fouls. Between the two of them, they went 23-of-25 from the foul line. The bad news is that they only went 15-of-42 from the field. Yikes. Durant went 0′fer in his eight attempts from beyond the arc, and James Harden only went 0-of-4 as well. The team made just one triple on 17 attempts, and the 5.9 percent is really as dreadful as could be. There were also only 11 assists in the whole game. To put that in perspective, Jason Kidd alone had eight for the Mavericks. No one aside from Durant and Westbrook sniffed double digits in scoring, and though the defense did its job, the offense was just putrid. This Oklahoma City team should be getting more than nine fast break points in a game, and it should never be in a position where it doesn’t lead in a game, especially at home, and especially in the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks Pick: We still love the aggressiveness that this team is showing. Oklahoma City might not have the more talented side, but we still believe that this series could ultimately be measured on heart, not talent. If that’s the case, we want Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins for sure. The Thunder -4 is the right side to play on Monday night for your NBA picks.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.