After a turbulent season filled with unwelcomed surprises at every corner, the playoffs are finally here. Dallas will face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the third time in six years. There was a slight glimmer of hope at the 5-seed, but the Mavs frittered that away by losing to the Spurs' skeleton crew. Dallas avoided the abject horror of another Spurs series thanks to basketball deity Stephen Curry and his 73 win Warriors squad.
Dallas and OKC have faced off four times this season with Mavs losing all four contests. Salah Mejri had his coming out party during their meeting in late in January when he added Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to his list of block victims. JJ Barea played the role of irritant during their matchup in early January when he got into a scuffle with Westbrook that eventually led to Westbrook being ejected. Barea and Mejri will both be relied upon heavily if the Mavericks want to make this series competitive in any way whatsoever.
The Mavericks beat the Thunder in five games during the 2011 Western Conference Finals. OKC returned the favor in 2012 by sweeping the Mavs in the first round. The talent discrepancy is much greater nowadays, but the matchup between Kevin Durant and Dirk should make this series worth while.