'Nightmare' playoff matchup revealed for Thunder, and it's not the Lakers

Dec 12, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles
Dec 12, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At 48-20, the OKC Thunder find themselves holding onto the top spot in the Western Conference standings and, with just 14 games left on the docket, seem to have a realistic shot of heading into the postseason with homecourt advantage through at least the Western Conference Finals.

However, despite this potential luxury, there are still plenty of hardships this talented, albeit somewhat flawed Oklahoma City team could face under the bright lights of the playoffs, as they've proven themselves to be susceptible to particular styles of play and, in turn, specific ball clubs.

Though many are of the belief that the Los Angeles Lakers could pose the biggest threat to the championship aspirations of this Thunder squad, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report seems to believe there's another organization that could stir up serious trouble for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and company, as he's gone about and deemed the Dallas Mavericks as a "nightmare" matchup for the team.

Mavericks viewed as 'nightmare' playoff matchup for OKC Thunder

"Ignore the 2-1 record against the Mavs this season; the Thunder should still fear a potential series against Dallas.

In OKC's two victories, the Mavericks were either missing Luka Dončić or Kyrie Irving. In the one contest when both were healthy, Dallas won by a whopping 35 points.

Few teams have an answer for Dončić, although the All-Star guard has been especially good against the Thunder. In his pair of games, he is averaging 34.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 13.5 assists (his most against any team) and shooting 55.6 percent overall and 42.9 percent from three.

The Mavs' frontcourt additions of Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington will only make this potential series more challenging."

Greg Swartz

Similar to the fears many have shared regarding a matchup with the Lakers, the Mavericks have the size advantage along with playoff experience in a hypothetical series against the Thunder.

Through this point in the season, the two have squared off on three seperate occasions, though, as Swartz acknowledged, only one of said matchups has seen the tandem of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving suit up alongside one another and they went on to win 146-111.

Every contest so far has seen the Thunder's fifth-best defense surrender 119 or more points while allowing them to shoot a highly efficient 51.5 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from deep.

Their fourth and final regular season matchup on April 14 could be a time to provide evidence that OKC can handle what Dallas may have to offer in a playoff series, but, as of right now, it seems as if Swartz's concerns are somewhat warranted.