Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Thunder own home-court advantage

Posted on: May 21, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: May 21, 2011 1:05 pm
 
The Oklahoma City Thunder return home, looking to take a 2-1 series lead on the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals. Posted by Ben Golliver.




One Big Thing: Oklahoma City's home-court advantage is mean and vicious. The Thunder are 6-1 at home so far in the playoffs; even more impressive, OKC has lost just two other home games dating back to Feb. 27, and one of those was the season finale when their starters played limited minutes. The Mavericks enter the game having had the best road record in the regular season, including two wins in Oklahoma City (back in November and December), so they won't be trembling. Indeed, center Tyson Chandler guaranteed a series victory. Dallasnews.com with the quote: "We'll prevail through this series. There's no doubt in my mind, at all."

The X-Factor: The Mavericks have yet to truly slow down the Thunder attack, allowing 112 points in Game 1 and 106 in Game 2. After Dallas forced the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers to sputter on offense, Oklahoma City has found multiple ways to score, including stroking the long ball (seven 3-pointers in Game 2) and getting to the free-throw line (26 free throws). As a team, OKC shot 56 percent from the field in Game 2. By comparison, the Lakers never shot better than 47 percent and the Blazers never shot better than 48 percent. The Kansas City Star reported that Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle attributed it to his defense's lack of an edge. "I feel like we have got to play with a greater edge, for sure. I don't think we've lost [that edge], but I think we've got to play with more of an edge."

The Adjustment: Clearly, the big Game 2 adjustment came from Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who elected to ride his bench (plus Kevin Durant) for the fourth quarter, leaving Russell Westbrook to ride the pine. This was about as surprising as an X & O move gets this late in the postseason, not only because an All-Star was left out of the game but because of the wholesale nature of the lineup change. The Thunder, thanks to Durant and James Harden, maintained their lead and held off a furious Mavericks rally, which wound up sidetracking itself with a few careless turnovers. The million-dollar question is how Westbrook will respond in Game 3. He certainly seems self-assured and he said all the right things after Game 2. But all eyes will be on how he carries himself and whether he is able to cut down on the mental mistakes that led to Brooks' decision to turn the late-game ballhandling over to reserve guard Eric Maynor

The Sticking Point: The Mavericks have yet to find an answer for Durant. Sure, they limited his scoring output in Game 2 to 24 points after he exploded for 40 points in Game 1, but Durant was 0 for 5 from the 3-point line and 11 for 18 on everything else. In other words, OKC will continue to encourage him to be aggressive off the dribble and assertive in finding his pull-up attempts in the paint. If he suceeds in doing that, it's unclear whether he can be stopped. The Mavericks -- particularly DeShawn Stevenson -- looked to frustrate Durant by being physical with him on Thursday, but you can bet, back at home, Durant will get more than the three free-throw attempts he managed in Game 2. The Mavericks will need more from either Jason Terry (just eight points in Game 2) or Shawn Marion (only nine points on 13 shots in Game 2) to offset Durant's output.
Comments

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: May 21, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder own home-court advantage

The Mavs' problem is with an amateur GM/owner. He likes depth instead of stars. In the NBA playoffs, stars are what win series.

Out front he has a 38 year old Kidd. Nice role player now days, but too old to carry a team in the playoffs like stars do. JET never was a stasr, is streaky and is known for NOT being a defender. JJB is nice on offense, and, because ofhis height, a libility on defense.

Peja? Too old, like Kidd, to be a star.

Dirk is on a one star team (when JET isn't career hot).

Odds are JET, who was never a 23.7 producer in his 11 year career until the first two series this year, does not soon return to a career hot spell. And, without that, Cuban has built a nice team, with a good enough superstar, but a GAPING hole at the "Robin" position for the fifth year in a row.

Is he too dumb to know he needs a Robin? Or, just not good enough or well connected enough as a GM to do anything about it?



Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder own home-court advantage

Where's the "playoff" refs



Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: May 21, 2011 5:37 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder own home-court advantage

I have to admit I underestimated OKC but I still think Dallas will win the series.  OKC won't win all of their home games because Dallas is an excellent road team.  Dallas in 7 - Go MAVS!


MattJS06
Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: May 21, 2011 2:27 pm
This comment has been removed.

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