Stick With 'Under' When Betting NBA Playoff Game 2 of Mavericks/Thunder

Monday, April 18, 2016 1:15 PM GMT

I fared OK when previewing Game 1 of the Western Conference playoff series between Dallas and Oklahoma City, taking the 12 points and missing that but hitting on the 'under' 206 on NBA odds. 

Mavericks Now Likely Down Two Guards
I thought every Western Conference series was a pretty sizable mismatch in terms of any even going five games and that was borne out in all the Game 1s. No.1 and record-setting Golden State routed No.8 Houston by 26 and it could have been much, much worse if Steph Curry had played in the second half.

Second-seeded San Antonio destroyed No.7 and injury-decimated Memphis by 32. The No.4 L.A. Clippers crushed Portland 115-95. And in this series, No.3 Oklahoma City took out No.6 Dallas 108-70 in Game 1.

That was the fewest points ever scored by Dallas in a postseason game. The Mavs shot an ugly 29.8 percent from the field, also a franchise worst in a playoff game. Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki played solid, hitting 7-for-15 from the field for 18 points.

Here's how the rest of the starters did: Salah Mejri 0-for-0, one point; Deron Williams 1-for-9, two points; J.J. Barea 1-for-6, two points; Wesley Matthews 3-for-10, seven points. No bench member reached double-digit points, either.

More bad news for Dallas
Reserve forward/center David Lee missed the opener with a partial tear in his plantar fascia and won't play in Game 2. Neither will Barea, who injured his groin in the opener. Williams is doubtful with his lingering sports hernia injury. He missed eight games with the injury in late March and early April. But he played in the final three regular-season games and played pretty well.

So you are probably looking at Raymond Felton and Devin Harris both starting. I almost think the Mavericks might just punt on this game and give themselves a chance to rest up and have a shot in Game 3 back at home. Dallas was 22-18-1 against the spread on NBA odds during the season on the road and 20-21 'over/under' away from home.

Thunder Turned On Defensive Intensity
I doubt that Oklahoma City needed the added motivation to play well in Game 1, but the Thunder might have gotten it with assistant coach Monty Williams making an appearance pre-game, his first time being with the team since the tragic death of his wife Ingrid in a February car accident.

Williams is beloved by the players. He's not going to return to coaching in these playoffs, however. Game 1 was of course the NBA postseason debut for head coach Billy Donovan.

Oklahoma City's Big 3 all played well in the opener. Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 11 assists and five rebounds and the Thunder outscored the Mavs by 39 points in the 30 minutes he was on the court. Kevin Durant had 23 points, five assists and five in rebounds and was plus-28 in 27 minutes.

Serge Ibaka had 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and was plus-36 in 28 minutes. It's the first time he's had at least 17, nine and three in those categories since mid-January.

The Thunder didn't actually shoot out of their minds from the field, hitting 45 percent overall and 34.3 percent from 3-point range. They were 24-for-28 from the free-throw line. But defensively the Thunder were terrific as It was the fewest points allowed and the largest margin in a Thunder win in their playoff history.

OKC also crushed Dallas on the boards to the tune of a 56-33 advantage. During the season, the Mavericks were the fifth-worst rebounding team in the NBA, losing that category by an average of 2.7 per game.

The Thunder led the NBA by a mile in that category at plus-8.4, the fourth-best rebounding differential in the history of the league. The Thunder were 20-20-1 ATS on NBA picks at home this season and 16-25 O/U there.

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Free NBA Picks: Dallas can't possibly play any worse offensively, but the Mavs are also now down two guys. So you have to go 'under' again. Give the points. The Mavs are 1-6 ATS in their past seven conference quarterfinals games. OKC is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in OKC.
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle