Mavericks-Thunder Set to Play in Western Conference Finals

Yahoo! Sports: “The Mavs’ 36-point rout in Game 4 on May 8 nice break before the West finals begin. Dallas will have the home court advantage against Oklahoma City. ‘We set for ourselves high goals in October to win a championship and we still have a long way to go,’ Dirk Nowitzki said. The Mavs enter the series playing their best basketball.”

New York Times: “A young Oklahoma City team take on the wily Texas sharp-shooters of Dallas in a Western showdown between the Mavericks and Thunder starting Tuesday with the survivor heading on to the NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki, the deadly accurate shooter for the Dallas Mavericks, will be pitted against the league’s 22-year-old scoring champion Kevin Durant in a best-of-seven series for the Western Conference crown.”

Sporting News: “It is, simply, old vs. young in this series, last-gasp vs. baby steps. Have a look at the top five scorers for the Mavericks this postseason, and you’ll notice that all five players (Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion) are 32 or older. For the Thunder, five of their top six playoff scorers (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor) are just 23 or younger.”

Sports Illustrated: “We don’t have the Lakers, Spurs or the upstart Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals, but we do get an aging and (in some circles) underappreciated superstar gunning for another chance at a title against the league’s scoring champion, Kevin Durant, who also happens to be perhaps the closest thing to Dirk Nowitzki that American basketball has ever produced. We get to watch a passing-oriented club that led the league in assist percentage face an opponent that ranked just 24th in assist rate, in part because of its ridiculous talent and young legs. We get a team that might be ahead of schedule against one that wasn’t on the schedule at all six months ago.”

Yahoo! Sports: “Season Series: Mavericks, 2-1. Dallas won the first two meetings, both in Oklahoma City, but missed a chance for the sweep with a 99-95 home loss on Jan. 6 while playing without the injured Dirk Nowitzki .Nowitzki had hurt his knee in the Mavericks’ 103-93 victory over the Thunder on Dec. 27. Caron Butler played well in both wins but was already lost for the season in the Mavs’ lone loss, so his absence could be felt now. Tyson Chandler had a pair of 18-rebound games for Dallas and averaged 12.7 points and 15.3 boards.”

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