Thunder look to continue playoff push, finally cover vs. Mavericks
The Oklahoma City Thunder will return from the NBA All-Star break looking to extend a three-game winning streak both straight-up and against the spread when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. The Thunder will need to stop a three-game losing streak against the Mavericks SU and ATS, however, if they are going to win their fourth game in a row overall.
The teams' only meeting so far this season took place on Dec. 28, with the Mavs coming away with a 112-107 victory and covering the spread as 2-point home favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
However, Thunder All-Star forward and leading scorer Kevin Durant (25.9 points per game) missed that matchup with an ankle injury. Instead of Durant or 2015 NBA All-Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook leading the team in scoring, it was forward Serge Ibaka totaling 26 points while Reggie Jackson added 21 off the bench. Dallas got a game-high 30 points from perennial All-Star Dirk Nowitzki.
Oklahoma City has performed slightly better since the six-game stretch Durant missed in December due to his injury, going 9-7 SU but just 7-8-1 ATS in the games he has played in the New Year. The Thunder are still chasing a playoff spot in the Western Conference, sitting a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final seed and eight games behind the Northwest Division-leading Portland Trail Blazers.
Before losing their last three meetings with the Mavs, Oklahoma City had won 11 straight in the series, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
Dallas is currently the fifth seed in the West as the third-best team in the Southwest Division. The Mavs trail the Houston Rockets by one game for second place and the Memphis Grizzlies by four games for first in the division. They own the third-best offense in the league, averaging 106.3 points per game, and hope to get healthy for the final stretch of the regular season.
Dallas won six of eight heading into the break, with a 4-3-1 mark ATS following a four-game losing streak, but saw guards Rajon Rondo (facial fractures) and Monta Ellis (hip) plus center Tyson Chandler (ankle) all come down with injuries.