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Thunder Mavericks Spread Pick for Game 5

Another night, another dramatic, series-turning overtime thriller. It’s hard to complain as a sports fan about the entertainment value this spring’s NBA Playoffs have delivered. It is, however, a little easier to complain about the final possession of regulation is you are a fan of the Bulls or Thunder.

Both teams put the ball into the hands of their young superstars in the hopes of them dramatically leading them back to 2-2 in the series – within shouting distance of a berth in the NBA Finals. Neither hit the rim.

Sometimes in the NBA a team just has to take a few lumps before they make the leap. It appears that might be the case for both Chicago and Oklahoma City. Will the Thunder be able to rebound from Monday’s gut-wrenching collapse to at least be able to stave off elimination for one more night? Let’s get on to today’s free pick.

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Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks -6.5

It is hard to lose a game, and quite possibly a series, in more gut-wrenching fashion than the Thunder did two nights ago. As resilient as youthful exuberance can be, it is going to be nearly impossible to emotionally distance themselves from the sting of less than 48 hours ago.

Thus comes a defining moment for a young team and a young head coach 9at least in terms of NBA Head coaching experience). Do they take the disappointment and use it as fuel to power a furious, defiant last stand tonight? Or will the heavy weight of despair slow down their spirit enough to allow the hungry vets; smelling the finish line, dominate on their home floor?

It may be a little optimistic, but I think the OKC fans lifted the spirits and confidence of their young ballclub and could possibly carry them to an improbable Game 7 if they can somehow steal a win tonight. Keep in mind, this is a city that gave their team a standing ovation after their loss (at the buzzer no less!) to end the series with the Lakers in six games. They will be disappointed by Monday, but by no means defeated.

Then of course, there is the matter of Kevin Durant. The young star shrunk in the final ten minutes (including overtime) of last game’s meltdown; missing on all six shot attempts and turning the ball over twice. Add in quite possibly the worst “last second” shot “attempt” of the season, and it was an ugly finish for Durant.

One thing both he, and the Thunder, have shown throughout their young existences, is an uncanny ability to bounce back and put the past in the past. I think he and Westbrook respond tonight and play much better basketball. Enough to keep the game interesting…but not quite enough to win it.

In the end though, this is a veteran Dallas team playing fantastic basketball with a completely unguardable star playing at the peak of his abilities. The Thunder had no clue how to defend Dirk for four games, I’m not sure why they’d figure it out tonight.

I think the Thunder give them a good game, but wilt late in the fourth once their fate becomes inevitable. Give me the Mavs, even laying the 6.5.

PICK: Dallas Maverick -6.5

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