The best type of team to erase a 108-70 thumping during the playoffs is one laced with veterans, and that is exactly what the Dallas Mavericks have. Whether it's going to be enough to silence the rowdy Oklahoma City crowd, or the Thunder's deadly duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook remains to be seen as the Mavs look to even the series tonight on TNT.
Dallas needs to fix things on the defensive side of the ball, as they have allowed the Thunder to score 111.6 points on 48.4% during the team's five meetings this year, including the regular season. Dallas has dropped all five games, and a win Monday evening doesn't seem to be on the horizon for Mark Cuban's side. Missing JJ Barea also doesn't help.
Dirk Nowitzki tried to be positive for Dallas, "I guess the only positive I take out if this -- it's only one game. If you lose by two or by 50, in the playoffs, it's only one game," Nowitzki said. "We've got another crack to steal one on Monday. We've got to play harder, we've got to play better."
It may be one game, but it was a game that was a huge exclamation point for the heavily favorited, home side. Oklahoma City held Dallas to sub 30% shooting (29.8%), while grabbing 23 more rebounds. Take away Dirk, and the Mavericks shot a staggering 26%. Coming out firing, Durant says that was the game plan from the start. "We didn't want to ease into the game," said Durant, who scored 23 in 27 minutes of action. "We wanted to be the aggressor." The aggressor they were, and more of that should continue during game two, though I am not sure the end result will be a thumping near 40. Maybe half of that.