Game 4, with the Oklahoma City Thunder done 2-1 and in desperate need of a win after Russell Westbrook went a bit rogue in Game 3? Sounds familiar. The Thunder faced this exact position in the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies; the only difference was that OKC was on the road. On Monday, the Thunder will host the series-leading Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 with Westbrook's cooperation (or lack thereof) with superstar teammate Kevin Durant the overriding narrative.
Westbrook scored 30 in Game 3, hitting eight of 20 from the floor and drawing 14 free throws. He led the Thunder in scoring, as Durant went 0-8 from long-range and scored 24 on 22 shots. But Westbrook, the point guard, had just four assists and seven turnovers. He's a co-star instead of a supporting actor. People have a problem with that. Maybe Durant has a problem with that. Other Thunder players reportedly have a problem with that. Will it doom the Thunder?
Not if they repeat the Memphis series in full. That'd come with a stirring triple-overtime win in Game 4; while we shant count on that, let's keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, the Thunder must maintain containment of Dirk Nowitzki, who struggled mightily in Game 3 after two big games in Dallas. Oklahoma City also needs better efficiency out of not just Westbrook and Durant, but Serge Ibaka, James Harden and Eric Maynor. With a bit more offense, OKC could have taken Game 3; the Thunder hit just 1-17 three-pointers, and looked short on many of them. Is the long postseason grind -- one in which OKC hasn't had much rest, frankly -- wearing the Thunder down?
We'll see more in Game 4, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Be sure to check out our Mavericks vs. Thunder hub for full series coverage. For more on the Thunder, visit Welcome To Loud City. For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.