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Game 3 NBA Gambling: Mavs vs. Thunder Free Pick | Preview

NBA Odds: Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Preview & Game 3 Free Pick

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Date: Saturday, May 21, 9:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Ford Center
Broadcast: ESPN
Mavericks vs. Thunder betting lines from BetOnline.com
Money Line: Thunder -145, Mavs +125
Spread: Thunder -2.5
Over/Under: 200.5

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The Rapture is supposedly coming Saturday, and Dallas Mavericks and Okalahoma City fans are clamoring to know who is the one true Savior—Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant? They’ll lead their teams into Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, with the series tied at one win apiece.

The Thunder grinded out a 106-100 win on Thursday, tying up the series after getting manhandled by Nowitzki and Co. in Game 1. Durant was typically impressive, going 11-for-23 from the field with a team-high 24 points. This time, though, Durant had some help.

Oklahoma City’s bench was outscored by Jason Terry alone in Game 1, but James Harden stepped up and buried four three-pointers in Game 2, finishing with 23 points. Fellow reserve Eric Maynor added 13 points, as OKC got nearly half its points from the bench.

The Russell Westbrook saga took a bizarre twist, though. Westbrook’s shooting has been atrocious in the postseason, but he was a very respectable 7-for-15 on Thursday, en route to an 18-point evening. Still, when Oklahoma City blew a lead in the third quarter, head coach Scotty Brooks elected to bench Westbrook for the entire fourth period. The move paid off, as Durant and four reserves finished off the game. Lifetime Bonus at BetOnline

Nowitzki suffered through a mirror-image performance of Durant in Game 1. While the big German played a fine game, posting 29 points, five assists and five rebounds, his teammates were nowhere to be found. Terry was massive in Dallas’ series-opening win, but he managed just eight points this time around. J.J. Barea, who scored 21 points in the opener, had just 11 points in Game 2.

Bench play looks like it’s going to be a major factor moving forward. The Mavericks won Game 1 after having a 53-22 advantage in bench points, while the Thunder reserves outscored Dallas 50-29 in Game 2.

Ultimately, though, the Westbrook benching is the biggest lingering question. Brooks’ decision to bench Westbrook was reminiscent of an Evil Knievel stunt—it’s hard to tell where he drew the line between guts and stupidity. The move paid off, but we’re waiting to see how it affects the Thunder moving forward. Does Westbrook take the mature route, shake off the benching and play great in Game 3? Or does he pout and throw a wrench in the championship drive?

I’m leaning toward the former, as Westbrook was spotted cheering on his teammates during the fourth-quarter benching once he finally calmed down. The crowd will get behind him, too, and the Thunder should explode in a Game 3 victory.

Dallas at Oklahoma City pick: Thunder

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Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts.


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About Ian Van Den Hurk

Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts. Looking for more sports betting tips and expert sports handicapping articles from Ian V? We've got your back...