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Mavericks Favored (-7) To Close Out Series With Thunder In Game 5

May 25th, 2011- By Bryan Cross

The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to forget about a monumental collapse just two nights ago at home in a Game 4 loss, which saw them blow a 15-point lead with under five minutes to go against the Dallas Mavericks.

As a result, Dallas is now up 3-1 in the series, and puts Oklahoma City on the brink of elimination in Game 5, and get the Thunder at home.

“I know that (the Thunder) are going to come in tomorrow and they’re going to come back at us hard, as they’ve done every game,” Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ll have to play our best game to close them out. We’ve got to be careful about getting away with how happy we are.”

The Mavericks have history on their side though, with just eight teams in the NBA post-season ever overcoming a 3-1 deficit to come back and win the series. And of those eight teams, just two of them overcame what faces Oklahoma City in having to win two of the three games on the road.

It was disappointing to say the very least for Kevin Durant and the Thunder on Monday night. They controlled a 99-84 lead late in the fourth quarter, before Dallas ended the game on a 17-2 run to force the game into overtime. From there, it already looked like Oklahoma City had been defeated just by looking at their bench.

The Mavericks came out and pulled away to a 112-105 victory in a game that in reality they had no business winning.

“It’s a bad feeling, but we’ve got faith,” Durant said after the game. “I’m just going to lay it all on the line.”

For Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks, it’s his job to pick him team up off of the floor and get them ready to try and win Game 5 and force a sixth game which would be played back at Oklahoma City.

“When you get punched, you have to get up,” Brooks said. “You have no other choice. If you don’t, you’re not going to grow, you’re not going to get better as a player.”

“We can still make it a series,” he added “It’s always about being mentally ready for the challenge, because it is a challenge. There’s no question we have a big challenge tomorrow, but it’s a challenge that our guys will embrace.”

It will start once again with trying to contain Dirk Nowitzki, who went off for 40 points, spearheading the comeback in the fourth quarter and on into overtime. Defense has not been at the forefront of this series, but the Thunder will have to buckle down, or Dallas will not follow on the flight back to Oklahoma City.

Thunder/Mavericks Game 6 Betting Line: The Mavericks have been set as a seven-point favorite in Game 5 on NBA Playoff Odds at Bodog Sportsbook, indicating oddsmakers are favoring Dallas to end the series on Wednesday night. The over/under for the game has been set at 199 points.

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