The Dallas Mavericks have not done nearly as well as they expected to following their high-profile acquisition of Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics. Yet, it’s not unheard of for a team to struggle after getting a new star player, one with a very particular set of talents and tendencies.
The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They are the much better team in this matchup. This is not so much about Dallas being so good. It’s more about Miami being so bad and so battered up. Dwyane Wade continues to miss games for the Heat – he was injured Tuesday in a loss to Milwaukee, playing only 19 minutes. His body continues to betray him. Remember that big man Josh McRoberts is out for the rest of the season. Hassan Whiteside is filling in and is making a difference, but Miami still lacks depth on its roster. The Heat play good defense, but they just can’t score. Miami averages 93.1 points per game, which is 28th out of 30 teams in the league. The Heat have a negative point differential of minus-3.3 points, whereas Dallas sits at a positive differential of around five points. Miami is also a bad home team, not just a mediocre one. The Heat are 8-14 on their own floor this season, a far cry from the LeBron days. Dallas is 16-8 on the road and is 16-5 against the Eastern Conference.
The Miami Heat Can Win Because…
There is Dallas who doesn't have a winning record in its last 10 games (4-6), which you should consider when looking over the NBA odds. The Mavericks have been treading water and failing to get on any sort of run. The team had lost three games in a row heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets. Dallas was thoroughly outplayed by the Memphis Grizzlies in its own building, and that loss followed a bad loss to the non-playoff-positioned New Orleans Pelicans and a not-as-bad loss to the Eastern Conference’s Chicago Bulls at home. The common thread in all three losses, though, was defense. Dallas gave up 109 to Memphis and New Orleans, and 102 to Chicago. The Mavericks average over 107 points per game, in the top three of the NBA. Their ability to stop opponents is what’s at issue for them, and with Miami fighting desperately to hold onto a playoff spot, the Heat could be able to play with a level of energy that will get Dallas’ defense off balance.
The Heat can boast of the arrival of Hassan Whiteside as a tough and formidable NBA player. The league is still buzzing about his 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block, 25-minute masterpiece against the Chicago Bulls (a really good team with strong interior players) this past Sunday. Miami might have found the piece it needs to become more consistent. The Heat have lacked interior defense even in the best of times during the LeBron era. Whiteside can make them better in a place where they used to be weak.
The Mavericks are not playing well, but Miami isn’t playing any better, and the Heat have a lot less depth than what Dallas can offer. The Heat are also lousy at home they don’t have Wade. They don’t have a particularly good chance here, so lay the points and take the Mavericks with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Dallas -8.5 at Bodog