The Dallas Mavericks can inch a bit closer to locking up a spot in this year’s NBA Finals with a second consecutive win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road this Monday night in Game 4 of their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series. Game time from the Oklahoma City Arena is set for 6 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Oklahoma City opened as a 4 ½-point home favorite in basically a must-win situation on Monday night. The total is 195½ on the Don Best screen. This presents two opportunities as the Thunder regain their shooting touch just in time to win and cover the points in a game that goes ‘over’ the total.
Dallas employed a balanced attack and a shutdown defense on Saturday night to grind out a 93-87 victory over Oklahoma City as a three-point road underdog to take a 2-1 edge in this series. The Mavericks have paid huge dividends for anyone riding their wave this postseason with an 11-1-1 record against the spread overall and a 4-0-1 record ATS on the road.
The total stayed ‘under’ the 198 ½-point line in Game 3, but has gone ‘over’ in eight of their 13 playoff games.
Dirk Nowitzki had one of his worst shooting nights in recent memory in Game 3 with a 7-for-21 effort, but Shawn Marion helped pick up the slack with 18 points and Jason Kidd added 13 points and eight assists to help secure the win.
The Mavericks actually led by 16 points at the half and by 22 points early in the fourth quarter, but had to fight off a furious Oklahoma City rally for the six-point win.
Coming into this series, Dallas was only giving up an average of 88 points a game, but the Thunder put up 112 in Game 1 and 106 in Thursday’s win. Saturday’s defensive performance was reminiscent of the Mavericks’ first two series and will be the key to winning this game as well.
The loss in Game 3 dropped Oklahoma City’s record in the postseason to 7-7-1 ATS overall and 4-4 ATS at home. The total has posted the same numbers at 7-7-1 overall and 4-4 at home. It is 4-4 ATS as a favorite.
The good news for the Thunder in this game was the play of Russell Westbrook, who was benched for the entire fourth quarter in Game 2. He bounced back with a game-high 30 points to go along with Kevin Durant’s 24 as the two combined for 62 percent of the team’s scoring.
The bad news is that Oklahoma City shot just 36.5 percent from the floor after hitting 55.7 percent of its shots in Thursday’s win. It was a dreadful 1-for-17 from three point range after going 14-for-34 in the first two games.
The Thunder's bench kicked in 50 points on Thursday, but could only manage 16 points in Saturday’s loss. They actually had a 45-37 edge in rebounds, but poor shooting proved to be their undoing in this game. Oklahoma City will have no chance on Monday night unless it can quickly recapture its Game 2 form.
Dating back to the 2009-2010 season, Dallas is now 4-1 both straight-up and ATS on the road against the Thunder.