Thunder vs. Mavericks Preview & Prediction

The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder are both fighting for positioning at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture. Both sides are in desperate need of a win as Dallas has lost four of their last five games, while OKC has lost two of their last three games.

Projected Starting Lineups

Dallas Mavericks (45-29)

G Rajon Rondo –9.2 ppg, 6.4 apg

F Richard Jefferson – 5.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg

F Chandler Parsons – 15.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg

F Dirk Nowitzki – 17.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg

C Tyson Chandler – 10.0 ppg, 11.4 rpg

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-32)

G Russell Westbrook – 27.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 8.6 apg

G Andre Roberson – 3.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg

F Kyle Singler – 3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg

C Steven Adams – 7.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg

C Enes Kanter– 17.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg

What to watch for:

Will Westbrook get another triple-double?

This is the burning question every time the Thunder have taken the floor over the past month. He’s absolutely carried the Thunder without Kevin Durant, and OKC is relying on him to have a big game every single night for them to be competitive. He needs to put up spectacular numbers again for the Thunder to win.

Who steps up for Dallas with Monta Ellis out?

Ellis is Dallas' leading scorer and the guy they relied on to score down the stretch, and with him out, someone is going to have to step up. Dirk Nowitzki doesn't have a problem getting the ball at the end of games, but his production is already at a high level. The Mavs need Chandler Parsons or Rondo to have a big offensive game for them to win.

Prediction: Thunder win 106-99

The Mavericks are still trying to find their groove with Rondo in the lineup, while the Thunder have a much better idea of who they are, even without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Westbrook will make enough plays to be the difference in this game.

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