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3-point shooting could define the OKC Thunder’s series against the Dallas Mavericks

With the Dallas Mavericks’ victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of the first round on Friday evening, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s next opponent has been announced.

OKC will face a red-hot Mavericks team that outscored the Clippers by double digits in three of their four wins, including a 30-point victory in Los Angeles.

While much of the focus heading into the second round is on Dallas’ two big men, Daniel Gafford And Dereck Vivid IIin return for Chet Holmgreneach team’s ability to make three-point shots can be an even bigger deciding factor in who earns a trip to the Western Conference Finals.

In the regular season, the Thunder had the highest three-point percentage of any team in the NBA, shooting 38.9% from long range. Oklahoma City was in the middle of the pack in three-point attempts and ranked 16th in the league with an average of 34.2 shots per game from beyond the arc.

The Mavericks, on the other hand, made the second-highest number of three-point attempts in the NBA during the regular season with 39.5 shots from deep per game. Dallas ranked 13th in the league in 3-point percentage as the team made 36.9% of its attempts from beyond the arc.

In the first round of the playoffs, this trend continued for Oklahoma City, as the Thunder shot 34.3 three-point attempts per game and made 38.7% of their triples in a sweep over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Mavericks attempted 34.8 three-point shots per game, making just 33.5% of their three-pointers in a 4-2 Round 1 win over the Clippers.

Even without having a great series from beyond the arc, Dallas’ defensive efforts and ability to get their centers involved on offense helped propel them to a win over Los Angeles, which was without Kawhi Leonard for most of the first round. Additionally, Kyrie Irving had a great performance against the Clippers, scoring 30 points in three of the six games of the series.

If the Thunder can consistently knock down more shots from three-point range than Dallas did in their second-round matchup against the Mavericks, OKC will have a good shot at a spot in the Western Conference Finals.

While Dallas may have more veteran experience on their roster and good size down lowMark Daigneault team must be able to keep pace Luka Doncic and company like Oklahoma City can continue making three-point shots like they did in the first round and throughout the regular season.

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