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Thunder to face Mavericks in first round of NBA Playoffs

FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: April 27, 2012 at 12:27 am •  Published: April 27, 2012

If's official: The Thunder will open the postseason against the defending NBA champion.

Oklahoma City hosts defending NBA champion Dallas at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The series is a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals. The Mavericks fell to the No. 7 seed Thursday with a 106-89 loss at Atlanta and hope to put aside some ugly late-season play when the playoffs open.

“The dress rehearsal's over,” Mavericks guard Jason Kidd said. “Now it's time for us to protect our crown.”

For the rest of Saturday's games, the Chicago Bulls will open the postseason against Philadelphia, just before Miami and New York renew their playoff rivalry.

It will be the Heat and Knicks' first postseason meeting since they faced each other four straight years from 1997-00.

Indiana faces Orlando in the early Saturday night game.