Kevin Durant has struggled mightily in both of the Oklahoma City Thunder's first round victories over the Dallas Mavericks in the 2012 NBA playoffs. With the third game going to Dallas, I have to wonder what will happen if Durant finally finds his shot against these Mavericks.
In the first game of the playoff series, Durant hit 10-of-27 (27.0 percent) from the floor, however one of those shots was the game winner in the final ten seconds of the game. That was enough to send Shawn Marion off crying about how bad Durant shot and how lucky he was to hit the winner.
Durant followed that up with another bad night, hitting only 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from the floor. This time the Thunder didn't give Marion much of a chance to cry since they won by three and Dallas had the final chance to put it away, but failed.
On the 2011-12 season, Durant shot 49.6 percent from the floor. If he had shot his average in the first two games against Dallas, the Thunder would have blown the Mavericks away in both games. It is no wonder that Charles Barkley believes Oklahoma City will win this series.
In Game 2, Dirk Nowitzki tried to set the tone. In the 2010-11 series, which Dallas won, Nowitzki was the star, playing some of the best ball of his career and proving that Dallas was too experienced for the Thunder. In the first two games of this series, he is shooting 48.6 percent from the field and is playing better than almost anyone on the court. In that second game, he let Kendrick Perkins know he wasn't going to let Oklahoma City push him around this year.
It didn't work as the Thunder jumped out to a huge 16-point advantage in the game. Dallas fought back, and for the second game in a row, made the Thunder work for the win in the final minute of the contest. However, the Mavericks did not have enough to put Oklahoma City away.
Now, with home field on their side for the next two games, Dallas has a chance to tie it up. They just better hope that Kevin Durant doesn't wake up or the series might not make it back to Oklahoma City.
Tip-off between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks is Thursday, May 3, at 8:30 p.m. CT from the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and is an avid sports fan that has lived in Oklahoma for over 40 years. He used to religiously follow the Dallas Mavericks until Oklahoma City found a team to call their own.