Tip-Off: 7:30 PM CDT
Location: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
G Seth Curry has had a breakout season after going undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft and working hard over the last four years to just make it on to an NBA team. Curry has earned a starting spot with the Mavericks, and he is averaging 12.8 points shooting 47.9% from the field, 42.2% from three, and 84.2% from the free throw line, plus 2.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. In his two appearances against the Thunder this season, Curry has played fairly well, leading the Mavericks to a win in the most recent outing on March 5th. In that game, Curry scored 21 points on 10/16 (62.5%) shooting from the field, including 2/5 (40%) from three. While he is still a young guy learning his way in the league, he has the ability to have a big game, so keeping him locked down should be a priority.
Keys to the Game
- Take Care of the Ball: The Thunder has gradually improved its turnover rate over the course of the season, but they still struggle to take care of the ball at times. Oklahoma City ranks 23rd in the NBA with 15.0 turnovers per game, and when they played the Mavericks in Dallas just a few weeks ago, turnovers played a big role in costing them the game. The Thunder tallied 15 turnovers, while the Mavericks only had 8. Most of Oklahoma City’s mistakes were comprised of offensive fouls and lost balls out of bounds. The Mavericks do a really good job at taking care of the ball, averaging only 11.8 turnovers per game (3rd in the NBA), so the Thunder cannot afford to give the ball away, especially when the mistakes are unforced errors.
- Choose Shots Wisely: In the most recent game against the Mavericks, the Thunder shot only 40.2% from the field and their season-worst 9.1% from three. Oklahoma City is a mediocre shooting team from the floor, making 45.5% of their shots (15th in the NBA), and they are awful from behind the arc, making only 32.9% of their threes (28th in the NBA). The Thunder have to prioritize taking good shots and especially focus on finishing down low.
- Play Four Quarters: The Thunder has struggled all season any time that Russell Westbrook goes off the floor and the second unit comes in. Oklahoma City ranks 7th in the league in 1st and 4th quarter +/-, but the Thunder ranks 20th in 2nd quarter +/- and 19th in 3rd quarter +/-. The problem is that the bench struggles to maintain leads and gives up a large number of points to opponents. When the bench plays well, it is almost a guaranteed win for Oklahoma City, so the backups needs to do their part, and as a team, the Thunder needs to play a solid four quarters and get the win.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.