Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Playoffs 2012: Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0) vs. Dallas Mavericks (0-3) Game 4 Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will have a chance tonight to sweep the defending NBA champions in the first round.

The series was tight through two games in Oklahoma City but the Thunder really came together in Game 3, blowing out Dallas on their home floor and taking the commanding 3-0 series lead.

Kevin Durant came alive in Game 3 after two tough shooting nights at home he made 11-of-15 shots in Game 3 and scored 31 points. He started off great scoring 15 first quarter points and making three 3-pointers.

If Durant can have another game like that it might be too much for this Mavericks team to overcome.

Russell Westbrook has continued to play at a very high level in this series as he just seems to not be challenged enough on offense. He is getting to the spots he wants to very easily for his pull-up jumper and hitting it at a high clip in the series (5-for-9 in Game 3).

Durant and Westbrook aren’t two players who are going to take it easy because their team is up 3-0. They haven’t taken a game off all season. So unless the Mavericks can improve drastically and you have to imagine their motivation will be lacking, look forward to this series not returning to Oklahoma City.

Dirk Nowitzki played two very tough games in the first two averaging 28 points in each but didn’t come up as his usual clutch self in the ends. The Game 3 loss felt like a crushing one for him and a changing of the guards in the West.

Last year’s Thunder team probably isn’t up 3-0 in this series. Winning those first two games then coming out the way they did in Game 3 is new to this year. The team is growing up and doing so in the playoffs, the most important time.

There were questions surrounding the Thunder heading into the playoffs and the Mavericks even looked like a team that could upset them or give them a very tough series. It’s clear now that the Thunder hold their destiny in their own hands. They have the talent to go all the way and if they can keep playing at this level they just might.

The game tonight will tip at 7:30 p.m. EST on TNT.

Tags: Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki First Round Game 4 Kevin Durant NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook Sweep

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