May 25, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) in the post in the first quarter of game five against Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (0) and Dirk Nowitzki (41) for the Western Conference Finals of the 2011 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Mavericks (22-16) at Thunder (29-8), 8:00 P.M. EST tip

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Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Thunder (1-game losing streak)
106.2 Offensive Efficiency (2nd)
99.2 Defensive Efficiency (13th)
96.0 Pace (6th)
56.8 True Shooting % (1st)
51.5 Rebound Rate (4th)

Mavericks (1-game winning streak)
99.4 Offensive Efficiency (19th)
96.4 Defensive Efficiency (4th)
94.0 Pace (15th)
51.8 True Shooting % (17th)
49.4 Rebound Rate (20th)

The Thunder lost for the first time in eight games two days ago in Atlanta. The Hawks were without Joe Johnson but got a great game from Josh Smith and the Thunder couldn’t hit any shots down the stretch.

The Thunder had turnover problems in the game and settled for too many jumpers. Those are also the kind of things that the Mavericks might make the Thunder do tonight.

Tonight will be a rematch of the Western Conference Finals where the Thunder committed a ton of turnovers and didn’t have an answer for Dirk Nowitzki.

On paper, Dallas seems like a team that Oklahoma City should be able to handle and they have this season beating them two of three times including the first time when Kevin Durant did this.

Dallas has really hit their stride of late and is finally looking like the defending champs. Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 in their last game when they beat Utah 102-96.

Tonight, Nowitzki will have to contend with Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison to get his points. Ibaka is having the best season of his career at least in terms of defense as he leads the NBA in blocks per game. Ibaka had 10 blocks against the Mavs the last time these teams played.

The last time these teams played Oklahoma City won 95-86 and Durant and Russell Westbrook each had big games.

Durant had 23 and 13 while Westbrook led the team with 33 points but had six turnovers to just four assists.

Westbrook has been averaging more assists lately however and is taking better care of the ball as well.

Nowitzki went 2-of-15 in that game and scored just eight points. That probably won’t happen tonight so the Thunder should be ready to play a better all-around game.

A problem of late for Oklahoma City especially when they are on the road is finding scoring from anyone other than their Big Three.

James Harden plays great against Dallas but will need to be a playmaker as well with the second unit so that the Thunder can get some production from that lineup. Last time Harden struggled from the field but did have nine assists against Dallas.

The Thunder are 15-1 at home this season and are looking to record the franchise’s first 13-game home win streak with a win tonight.

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Tags: Dirk Nowitzki James Harden Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Nick Collison Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka Thunder Vs Mavs

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