2 keys to Game 2 victory for OKC Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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Let Luka Doncic isolate 

Luka Doncic entered this series with a sprained knee, and he appeared to aggravate the injury when contesting a Lu Dort three-pointer in the first quarter.

The Slovenian superstar lacked his typical burst and lift, which led to poor shot quality and a flat arc on shots. As a result, Doncic finished Game 1 limping with only 19 points on 31 percent shooting from the field. 

However, his passing and court vision remained as lethal as ever, and OKC often paid the consequences when doubling him.

For example, in the clip below Dort decides to stick with Doncic instead of switching to Dereck Lively II, which makes Isaiah Joe step up to take the roller. Josh Green is subsequently wide open for a corner three, and he knocks down the shot. 

Doncic can make every skip pass in the book, and Dallas possesses the catch-and-shoot weapons to capitalize. Therefore, leaving assignments to help on an ailing Doncic is not an appealing plan.

Essentially, the Mavericks are riddled with play-finishers who cannot make a significant offensive impact without being spoon-fed open looks, so staying home on them strips their output. 

Overall, given Doncic’s condition, it may behoove the Thunder to mostly let him isolate against their stable of excellent defenders and take away passing lanes. From a points-per-possession perspective, it seems unlikely that he can keep pace with OKC’s offense through contested midrange and step-back shots. 

Meanwhile, if Oklahoma City does trap him, then they have to remove the easy pass to the top of the key. Doncic is too big and too skilled to not hit his teammate in that location for a wide-open look.