Mavericks and Thunder Reignite Postseason Rivalry with Rich History

Mavericks and Thunder Reignite Postseason Rivalry with Rich History

As the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder prepare to face off in the postseason once again, they add another chapter to a rivalry filled with memorable playoff battles. This marks their sixth postseason meeting and the first since 2016, continuing a narrative that has delivered intense matchups and dramatic series outcomes over the years.

The rivalry dates back to 1984 when the Mavericks, then facing the Seattle Supersonics (the Thunder's former identity), won a tightly contested first-round series as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, with the Mavericks clinching the series 3-2. In 1987, the roles were reversed with the Supersonics, then a No. 7 seed, upsetting the No. 2 seed Mavericks 3-1.

The 2011 series is perhaps the most notable, as the Mavericks, as the No. 3 seed, defeated the No. 4 seed Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals, paving the way to their first NBA Championship. The Thunder struck back the following year in 2012, sweeping the Mavericks in the first round as the second seed. The most recent postseason encounter before this year was in 2016, where the Thunder, seeded third, took down the sixth-seeded Mavericks 4-1.

This season, the Thunder have had the upper hand, winning the series 3-1 against the Mavericks. Highlights from the season include a commanding 135-86 victory by the Thunder at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, underscoring their readiness for the postseason. Over the years, the Mavericks have struggled on the road against the Thunder, holding a record of 11-17 in games played in Oklahoma City since March 2009.

The rivalry is not just about team history but also features intriguing player storylines. Mavericks star Luka Dončić, known for his dominant performances, has a strong track record against Oklahoma City, averaging 28.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in 13 career games against them.

The series also highlights player connections across teams, including Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Thunder forward Gordon Hayward, who were teammates in Boston, and several players from both teams hailing from Canada and Australia, adding an international flavor to the rivalry.