The Mavericks are trying to avoid elimination in tonight’s Game 5 match-up versus the Thunder. They will be trying to tame a very pissed off and angry Kevin Durant as he was ejected during Game 4 for a controversial hit and flagrant foul to the face on Mavericks player Justin Anderson.
Durant will probably be letting his game do the talking tonight, and the Thunder will probably be perfectly fine with that.
The Mavericks will have to find a way to do what they did to Kevin Durant in Game 2, as they forced him to take contested shots on what might have been his worst shooting night of his NBA career. Durant is not known for that kind of inconsistency which will prove to be drastic for the Mavericks.
Russell Westbrook has been key to the Thunder’s consistent floor spacing and making it that much easier for the big men to find their rhythm. Big men Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka have both shot 73% and 71.4%, respectively.
“They’re playing a junk defense where they’re loading up and doubling,” Durant told the team’s official website. “When a team plays us like that we have to move the ball and Russ did a great job of finding guys and we spaced the floor very well tonight.”
For the Mavericks, they will be playing the same style of defense they have played all series. It helped them stop the Thunder’s high powered offense in Game 2 as the Thunder shot 33% from the floor and only 11 assists as a team.
“We’ve got some guys banged up, and they’re still out there trying to give it all they’ve got. Saying all that, we’re going to keep fighting on Monday. Whatever happens and whoever plays has got to come full swing, and we’ll go from there.”
The Mavericks have to rotate better defensively if they want to have success versus Oklahoma city. When the Thunder come into Dallas and have a combined 54 assists in two games, it is virtually impossible to come out with a win.
One thing to keep in mind is the amount of trash talk in this series. Kevin Durant was fined $15,000 for the flagrant foul and teammate Russell Westbrook was penalized $25,000 on Sunday for directing inappropriate language at a fan after he was fouled by Salah Mejri on a drive to the basket. The Thunder have to be careful if they want to win this series tonight because the Mavericks know they lack the fire power to win this series outright. But if they are able to get into the head of Thunder players, it can only help their cause.