NBA Playoff Schedule: Monday In OKC, Thunder Seek Playoff Life

The Monday schedule for the 2011 NBA Playoffs features the Dallas Mavericks holding a 2-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder playing Game 4 in OKC. All the talk is Russell Westbrook and his league-high turnover numbers and more importantly, his inability to get Kevin Durant the ball. This isn't news as much as it another example of the NBA Playoffs doing what they do -- expose players' and teams' flaws.

The Thunder can beat the Mavericks in Game 4 without Westbrook dishing the ball like Steve Nash, but as a team they are going to do a few things better. They absolutely can't go 1-17 from the three-point line as they did in Game 3. That's a given. They also need to relax and trust each other. Not uncommon for young teams, each player is trying to do too much on their own and the ball is not moving nearly enough. 

The Thunder have several mismatches on the perimeter and especially need Kevin Durant to take advantage any time Peja Stojakovic is on the floor and James Harden can attack Jason Terry and create opportunities. OKC did a great job in turning a blow out game into a contest that at least lasted 48 minutes and forced the Mavericks into playing their starters until the final minute. Keeping pressure on the older team will pay off down the road, assuming the Thunder can win Game 4 and tie the series which guarantees at least two more games.

For the Mavericks to beat the Thunder on their floor for the second-straight game, they need to play aggressive perimeter ball denial defense on Kevin Durant. Shawn Marion had his best game of the series so far which carried Dallas to the win. They will need either Marion or one other perimeter player -- DeShawn Stevenson or Jason Terry -- to play great ball and compliment Dirk Nowitzki's shooting prowess. Dirk had an off game on Saturday which won't likely happen again.

Game 4 between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder tips off at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT on ESPN. Dallas leads the series 2-1. (NBA.com video preview of Game 4). 

Gyi0064849088_medium

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21: James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks the ball in the fourth quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Arizona

You must be a member of SB Nation Arizona to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Arizona. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Arizona

You must be a member of SB Nation Arizona to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Arizona. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.