The second-round series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder gets underway this Wednesday. It’s a battle between teams led by two of the top three MVP contenders in Luka Doncic for the Mavs and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder. Who draws first blood in this series?

Catch this game live on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 9:30 AM, Manila time

Away: Dallas Mavericks (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Luka Doncic (Probable)
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • P.J. Washington
  • Daniel Gafford

The Mavericks finally solved their Los Angeles Clippers in the playoffs as they sent Paul George and company packing for an early vacation after a 4-2 series win in the first round. During that series, Doncic was not at his 100%  because of a knee sprain, but he managed to average 29.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds while shooting just 40.5% from the field and only 23.9% from behind the arc. He is currently listed as probable because of the same issue for Game 1 of the Thunder series, so that’s a key era that needs monitoring until game time. 

The Mavs will also be playing without big man Maxi Kleber because of a shoulder sprain. The good news for the Mavericks is that Tim Hardaway is set to return after missing four games in the previous round. He’s someone who can make the load lighter for Doncic on offense and provides the Mavs with a solid floor-spacer who can open things up for Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Mavs have covered the spread in two of their last three games versus Oklahoma City.


Home: Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Josh Giddey
  • Luguentz Dort
  • Jalen Williams
  • Chet Holmgren

While the Mavs are dealing with some health issues, the Thunder don’t have an injury problem with their top stars and main backups. It’s a clean bill of health for Oklahoma City, which dominated the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs. After a shaky Game 1 against the Pels, Oklahoma City quickly figured things out in the postseason and demolished New Orleans the rest of the way. The Mavs offer a much different challenge for Oklahoma City, but the Thunder have the tools to adapt to the new competitive environment. 

Either way, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren will be who the Thunder will mainly rely on. SGA led the Thunder in the first round with 27.3 PPG, while Williams and Holmgren averaged 21.3 and 15.3 points, respectively. Williams and Lu Dort can both be expected to shadow Doncic in the series. Doncic, as mentioned, isn’t at his top form heading into the series, and that’s good news for Oklahoma City’s perimeter defenders. In the first round, the Thunder’s defense allowed just 89.5 points per game — the best by any team that made it to the postseason.


Spread: Dallas Mavericks (+3.5)

Over/Under: Over (217.5)