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Thunder A Favorite (-4) In Game 4 To Even Series With Mavericks

May 23rd, 2011- By Bryan Cross

The Dallas Mavericks exacted revenge on the Oklahoma City Thunder by going on the road and stealing a game from the home team.

With the win in Game 3, the Mavericks went up 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals series, and Game 4 presenting a huge opportunity for both teams to shift the course of the series for the remainder of it.

The Thunder took home-court advantage from the Mavericks after getting a victory on the road in Game 2 to knot the series at 1-1-, but lost it just a game later with the losing performance at home. It appears to have lit a fire under Oklahoma City however.

“You lose a home game, you have to be angry,” Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook said after the loss in Game 3. “You’ve got to take care of home court.”

The Thunder will not get the opportunity to take back home-court even with a win in Game 4, but what they can do is even up the series and put the pressure back on the Mavericks to win at home in Game 5.

“If you think about it, this is a must-win at the end of the day,” remarked the Thunder’s Daequan Cook. “If we win tomorrow, it’s a three-game series. Two of the three games are in Dallas, so you want to take advantage of this opportunity to win at home tomorrow night and hopefully go to Dallas and win one, too.”

For Dallas, they know that a win in Game 4 on the road not only puts them up 3-1 in the series, but with Game 5 back in Dallas it would give them the opportunity to close out the series at home and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006.

“We’ve got to play with a certain edge. We didn’t do that at home,” Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were able to recapture it in Game 3, and now we’ve got to keep it with us going forward. “It’s hard with the emotional ebbs and flows of a series. It’s hard to win and not have a letdown.”

Dirk Nowitzki didn’t need a 48-point performance like he did in Game 1 to get a win in Game 3, which should be encouraging for the Mavericks. Nowitzki scored just 18 points last outing, but still looks to be the go-to guy in the series for the offense.

“They were physical. Trying to drive, there was really not much being called for me,” Nowitzki said. “I think I adjusted a little bit and had to shoot it off the dribble and not get all the way to the basket. I think that worked.”

He will continue to try and make adjustments to get to the basket in Game 4, for which the Thunder will have to try and stop him in trying to even the series.

Mavericks/Thunder Game 4 Betting Line: Oddsmakers favor the Thunder to even the series at 2-2, with NBA Playoff Betting Lines on Bodog Sportsbook setting Oklahoma City as a four-point favorite over Dallas in Game 4 of this Western Conference Finals series. The over/under for the game has been set at 196 points.

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