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Mavs Vs. Thunder: Preview, TV Info And More

Dallas will try to end an early-season slump against a hungry Oklahoma City team looking to revenge their loss in the 2011 WCF.

After two embarrassing home blowouts to open the 2011-2012 NBA season, the schedule gets no easier for the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, who have to travel to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on Thursday night.

Without Tyson Chandler protecting the rim, the Mavericks' defense has imploded against two extremely athletic teams, the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets, who defeated Dallas by an average of 16.5 points.

Oklahoma City, widely seen as the Western Conference favorites after making it to the WCF last season, will be another tough test for the Dallas defense, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all capable of taking the ball to the rim against an aging Mavericks back-court.

The Thunder have started the season 2-0 with wins over Orlando and Minnesota, and they will be coming off an emotional game Wednesday night in Memphis, as the Grizzlies will try to revenge their second-round loss to Oklahoma City last season.

For the Mavericks, the one bright spot against Denver was the play of reserve center Sean Williams, as the athletic 6'10 235 big man played way above the rim, racking up 12 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block in 11 minutes of playing time.

A 2007 first-round pick of the New Jersey Nets, Williams washed out of the league due to attitude and drug problems. He impressed the Mavericks' coaching staff on their NBDL team, the Texas Legends, with his work ethic and desire to make it back last season.

The 7:00 PM game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.

For the latest news and notes on the defending NBA champions, head over to Mavs Moneyball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.