The defending champion Mavericks will look to avoid an 0-3 hole tonight when they face Kevin Durant and the surging Thunder at the American Airlines Center. This evening’s Game 3 showdown between the two Western Conference rivals is scheduled to tip off at 9:30pm ET on TNT. NBA Odds have Dallas listed as a -3 against the spread home favorite; the Over/Under in tonight’s contest is presently set at 194.5 points.
There is no question the defending champs are on the ropes, but based upon the Mavs performance in games one and two, it is difficult to say they are done. Dallas lost both contests, but showed heart in pushing the favored Thunder to the wire in both contests.
Now the team’s postseason survival depends on more than just challenging Oklahoma City, Dallas must find a way to get past Durant and his cohorts tonight or the series is all but over. The Mavericks, obviously, stand a much better chance at making that happen on their home court.
Dallas, a 6.5 underdog in Game 2′s 99-102 loss, will need more offensive punch than they had on Monday night. Dirk Nowitzki was outstanding, scoring 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting, but as a team the Mavs shot 41.8 percent from the field, which included a 5-for-23 effort from long range.
Defensively Dallas failed to slow OKC’s big three of Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Durant hit just five of his 17 field goal attempts, but he dropped 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Westbrook, who went 8-of-8 from the line, finished with a team high 29 points while Harden tallied 15 points of the bench. The Thunder went to the free-throw line an astounding 39 times in the win, but even more remarkably, they hit on 37 of those attempts.
Suffice it to say Oklahoma City will not be at the line that many times this evening, which means Dallas, should it do a better job of finding the basket, could get this series to 2-1.
NBA Odds Betting Trend: The Thunder are 1-9 straight up in their last 10 games as a road dog against a Southwest opponent with a total between 190 and 195 points.
2012 NBA Playoff Odds Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks Game 3: Provided by SBG Global
Oklahoma City Thunder +3 (-110), Over 194.5 (-110), +150 (Moneyline)
Dallas Mavericks -3 (-110), Under 194.5 (-110), -170 (Moneyline)