After opening the season with a loss to the Wizards at home, the Dallas Mavericks have recorded three-straight wins, all against Western Conference rivals and two of them on the road. Dirk Nowitzki & Company look to extend their unbeaten road record to three games on Wednesday night when they travel to New Orleans to meet Chris Paul and the Hornets in the second game of an NBA doubleheader on ESPN.
Though the Dallas Mavericks have historically been one of the NBA’s best home teams, they have been less than impressive on the road. However, the Mavs have had some early road success so far this year. The Mavs hope to continue that trend Wednesday when they travel to the Bayou to face the New Orleans Hornets.
This will be the second half of the ESPN doubleheader beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
The Mavericks are 2-1 both straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) this season, including a perfect 2-0 both SU and ATS on the road.
Those results are heading into Tuesday night’s home game versus Utah. Dallas is 1-0 ATS in back-to-back games this season after going just 6-9 ATS with no rest last year.
The Mavericks started this season in embarrassing fashion, losing 102-91 against Washington as eight-point home favorites. Dallas then headed west for a double-dip at the Staples Center, dispatching the Lakers and the Clippers.
The victory over the defending champion Lakers was obviously the more surprising. Dallas was a 7½-point ‘dog despite Los Angeles playing without Pau Gasol. The Lakers scored just 80 points, helping the Mavericks’ to an 88.7 PPG allowed mark this season. That is sixth stingiest in the NBA.
Coach Rick Carlisle believes Dallas’ defense should stay much improved from last year’s 99.8 PPG allowed (15th in the league). Newly acquired forward Shawn Marion, who has always been a good defensive player, is setting the tone for the rest of the squad.
Offensively, the Mavericks are paced by Dirk Nowitzki (26.3 PPG), Marion (16.7 PPG) and guard Jason Terry (14.7 PPG) off the bench. They’re currently 24th in the league in scoring at 92.7 PPG.
Forward Josh Howard, still recovering from ankle surgery, is a potent scorer who will boost Dallas on the offensive end. He is listed as questionable for the New Orleans game. Backup big man Drew Gooden has been dealing with strained ribs and his status is also up in the air.
New Orleans (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) has been slip-sliding its way to mediocrity after winning 56 games two years ago. The Hornets dipped to 49 wins last year, and are a borderline playoff team this season.
The Hornets suffer from budget woes under frugal owner George Shinn. They were forced to dump swingman Rasual Butler after he averaged double-digit points last season. Point guard extraordinaire Chris Paul is doing everything he can to keep the team afloat (27.8 PPG, 8 ½ APG), but he’s clearly frustrated already.
The Hornets last played Sunday night in New York, losing 117-111 as three-point favorites. Their only home game this year was a 97-92 victory against an awful Sacramento team as a 12-point favorite.
Much of New Orleans’ woes can be attributed to a leaky defense that is allowing 104.8 PPG. Center Emeka Okafor is trying to learn the defensive system and make up for the loss of Tyson Chandler.
Dallas and New Orleans met four times last season with the Hornets going 3-1 both SU and ATS. New Orleans won and ‘covered’ both home meetings, winning by an average margin of 13 points. The Hornets are 6-1 ATS at home against Dallas in the last seven games.
Dallas was 21-20 ATS on the road last year, while New Orleans was 19-21-1 ATS at home.
The ‘under’ is 13-3 in New Orleans’ last 16 home games. The ‘under’ is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the teams.