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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks NBA Pick

Western Conference Final Gambling Online: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks NBA Lines

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Date/Time: Tuesday, May 17, 9:00 PM ET
Venue: American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.
Broadcast: ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks Betting Lines from Bookmaker
Money Line: Oklahoma City +215, Dallas – 260
Spread: Dallas -6
Over/Under: 193

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The stage is set for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder to prove to the basketball world that they are worthy of a trip to this year’s NBA Finals. All that stands in their way is a well-rested Dallas Mavericks team that made it look easy as they dismissed the two-time defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers in a four-game sweep of the 2011 NBA quarterfinals back on May 8.

It took the Thunder a seventh game to eliminate a tough Grizzlies squad that surprised Oklahoma City in Game 6.

Just one game after being held to 11 points in that Game 6 loss, Kevin Durant scored 39 points on Sunday while Russell Westbrook chipped in with a triple-double, to lead the Thunder to a 105-90 victory and a chance to move on.

Durant came off the opening tip off, driving to the bucket early often, taking Memphis by surprise while helping to lift the Thunder to its first conference finals since 1996, when the then-Seattle Supersonics beat Utah in seven games before losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.

Now they will face a new set of challenges, as Dallas is a team that has given fits to the Thunder, winning two of three in the team’s regular season matchups. The Mavs won both games in Oklahoma while the Thunder took the lone game in the Big D. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, however, didn’t play in the Thunder win. So the big question is–can the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka slow down Nowitzki?

The seven-foot, 245-pound Nowitzki averaged 20-plus points for an 11th successive season and if on his game, could put the Mavericks in a sweet spot to move on to the Finals.

The German star has arguably been the single best player in the postseason thus far, averaging 26.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on 49.7 percent shooting and 60 percent from long-range.

Dallas will want to use their size to slow the game’s pace keeping Durant and Westbrook bottled up in the half court. The Thunder, on the other hand, want to get both of their stars moving with easy looks in transitions, making things difficult for Nowitzki and the rest of the Dallas bigs.

The teams have met just twice in the postseason when Oklahoma City was in Seattle, but the two haven’t faced each other since 1987. In 1984, Dallas took a first round set while the Sonics returned the favor just three years later.

Recent Trends:
Over is 18-7-1 in OKC last 26 Tue. games.
OKC are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 road games.
Over is 7-3 in OKC last 10 vs. NBA Southwest.
DAL are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games.
DAL are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall.
OKC are 9-3-1 ATS in the last 13 meetings.
Underdog is 9-3-1 ATS in the last 13 meetings.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Dallas – The Mavs will be coming in with nine days of rest, while the Thunder will be worn down from its war with Memphis. Dallas will want to snatch an early win to maintain home-court advantage throughout this series. So you can be sure they will come out swinging. In the end, Game 1 goes to the Mavs.

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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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