Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions and Odds

How to Watch

Where: Chesapeake-Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

When: 8:00 PM EST, Monday, 31 December 2018

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports Oklahoma, KTXA | WWLS 98.1 FM OKC/930 AM (ES)

Dallas Mavericks

Head Coach: Rick Carlisle {All-Time 734-596 | DET, IND, DAL}

Despite being just two games back from .500, the Dallas Mavericks are twelfth in the Western Conference. After a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Mavericks will look to bounce back against the Thunder on New Year’s Eve.

After a six-game losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks split a home-and-home with the New Orleans Pelicans. In an unprecedented bit of scheduling, this game against the Thunder will be second of a back-to-back, home-and-home with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Mavericks are in a difficult position, not quite strong enough to push for the playoffs, not quite weak enough to win an excellent lottery pick. While the extremes aren’t what all teams aim for, a rebuilding squad like the Mavericks will need to decide soon what they want out of their season.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 172-108 | OKC}

At 22-12 the Oklahoma City Thunder are just half a game back from the Denver Nuggets who are in first place in the Western Conference. The Thunder are 6-4 in their last ten and surely want to enter the new year top of the table.

Talented but flawed in team play, the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to have finally solved the mystery of how to play together. It started from the top, where Russell Westbrook delegated duties to Paul George in order to raise his form and benefit the squad.

Not many times can a player give up responsibility and still average a triple double, but that just speaks to the talent that Westbrook is. The Thunder have two of the most dangerous threats in the backcourt so should the Mavericks fail to focus in, it may be a quick night for Dallas.

What’s At Stake?

Since the inception of the two franchises, the squads have met 37 times with the Thunder leading the all-time series 21-16. In 23 playoff games, the Thunder also lead the series 14-9.

With a win the Dallas Mavericks would vault themselves ahead of the Utah Jazz to eleventh, just behind the San Antonio Spurs. A loss would keep them in their spot, did with the Timberwolves.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have the chance to enter the new year at the top of the Western Conference table. A win would push them ahead of the Denver Nuggets in the win column.

Questions to answer

Can the Mavericks keep getting to the line?

Can the Thunder compete on the boards with the Mavericks?

We are going to compare the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Mavericks are 3rd in free-throws and free-throw attempts

The Dallas Mavericks are a team that are very capable of getting to the free-throw line. It is not only a beneficial means of acquiring points, but it also accumulates would against the other team and allows their defence to reset.

With the likes of Doncic and Smith Jr in the backcourt, the Mavericks have able playmakers that challenge the hands and feet of defenders. DeAndre Jordan is a massive force on the inside and has improved his free-throw shooting to the point he no longer has hesitation going into contact.

The Mavericks are an interestingly built team that do not rely to heavily on one single style of play. With their lack of overall talent, their ability to accumulate fouls on other squads keeps them in games where they should be less competitive.

The Thunder are first in Offensive Rebounding

With the likes of Steven Adams on their squad, the Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the leagues most prolific rebounders on both ends of the court. His sheer size and surprisingly spry athleticism allow him to challenge defenders and get off the ground multiple times before another player can even challenge.

While Adams is excellent at his craft, the Thunder boast seven players that average over one offensive rebound per game. Paul George and Russell Westbrook are incredibly adept at tracking misses as well as battling on the glass with their incredible athleticism.

Lucky for the Mavericks they tout another great NBA rebounder in DeAndre Jordan. Jordan can’t do it all though, it will have to be a team effort on the glass if the Mavericks don’t want to be taken advantage of in the rebounding category.

Dallas Mavericks Roster Notes

G-F Luka Doncic (toenail) was on the injured list, but played against the Pelicans on Friday.

G-F Wes Matthews (foot) was ruled out for Friday’s match against the Pelicans and is listed as day-to-day.

G Dennis Smith Jr (wrist) was listed as questionable, but played against the Pelicans on Friday.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G Alex Abrines (illness) was out on Friday against the Suns.

G-F Paul George (quad) did not play against the Suns and is listed as questionable.

G-F Andre Roberson (knee) will be reevaluated in the new year after suffering a setback during recovery.

Head-to-Head:Luka Doncic vs Paul George

Luka Doncic

19.0 PPG | 5.1 APG | 6.7 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 3.3 TOV | .429 FG% | .354 3P%

Paul George

26.3 PPG | 4.3 APG | 8.4 RPG | 2.2 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 2.8 TOV | .452 FG% | .390 3P%

Luka Doncic and Paul George present a matchup of a current star and one that is up and coming. While different in their styles of play, the utility they provide their team is incredibly similar.

Doncic represents the primary playmaker for the Dallas Mavericks. While still a rookie, his experience in the European leagues has allowed for a seasoned maturity not present in many rookies. Compounded on his experience is a great work ethic and a shocking ability to shoot the ball from anywhere, Doncic presents many problems for a team on his own on top of looking to make the correct pass.

Since he re-signed with the Thunder, it is clear that the team wanted to include Paul George more in the offence. The compromise with Russell Westbrook has been spectacular as George continues to score in bunches while Westbrook is still a terror on every inch of the court. They are likely, the most dangerous backcourt duo in the league.

Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.