The Dallas Mavericks official defense of their NBA title begins tonight when they meet the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of a best of seven series. This evening’s meeting between the Mavs and Thunder, last year’s Western Conference Finals participants, is scheduled to get underway at 9:30pm ET at the Chesapeake Energy Arena; it will be broadcast live on ESPN. NBA Point Spreads have the Thunder listed as a -7.5 against the spread home favorite and the Over/Under set at 193.5 points.
Dallas looked like anything but a defending champion most of this season, putting together a 36-30 record which proved just good enough to earn it the seventh seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Even with their postseason hopes in peril the Mavericks played poorly down the stretch, losing six of their of the final 11 regular season games.
Can Dallas find itself now that the playoffs are finally here? It seems rather improbable that a team which displayed little consistency all season long would suddenly develop a some against the league’s best competition.
Sure, the Mavericks mowed through the Thunder in last year’s Western Conference Finals, beating them 4-1, but they seem ill prepared to repeat that feat. Dallas is 1-4 in its last five regular season meetings with Oklahoma City and its 13-20 road record would suggest it is not capable of making a strong postseason run, not as a seven seed anyway.
The Thunder, who finished 47-19, have not exactly inspired a great deal of confidence lately either. Oklahoma City looked outstanding in December, January, and February, but it began to waver some once March rolled around. Kevin Durant and his cohorts posted a 6-5 record from March 1st through March 20th before closing out the month on a five game win streak. April brought even more inconsistency, though, as the Thunder went 8-7 in their final 15 games, a development which saw them lose their top seed to the Spurs.
Do either of these teams have the heart of a champion? Tonight’s series opener may provide a glimpse of the truth, and, depending on one’s perspective, the slight revelation may be either good or bad.
NBA Point Spreads Betting Trend: The Thunder are 9-1 straight up and 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games as a home favorite with a spread between 4 and 7.5 points and total between 190 and 195.
Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Game 1 2012 NBA Playoff Odds: Provided by SBG Global
Dallas Mavericks +7.5 (-110), Over 193.5 (-110), +310 (Moneyline)
Oklahoma City Thunder -7.5 (-110), Under 193.5 (-110), -380 (Moneyline)