This is a virtual battle of young vs. old. Who will prevail at the American Airlines Center and who will we pick to cover the point spread?
Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 8:30 pm ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists the Mavs a 5.5 point betting favorite with the total listed at 192.5.
Minutes Restriction Lifted
Hornets head coach Monty Williams reiterated that Eric Gordon's restriction regarding minute will be lifted and that will definitely benefit a Hornets squad that need's instant offense.
Thus far, Gordon has played 2 games and has averaged 17.5 points and 5 assists in 24.5 minutes. This might take away from point guard Greivis Vasquez's numbers, but Vasquez and the Hornets won't mind. This is a talented group of players, but unfortunately for them, it hasn't equated into wins. Look for the addition of Eric Gordon to make this a much more competitive contest.
The Go to Guy
We're immediately noticing that where offense is concerned, Ryan Anderson is the leader on this team. He played second fiddle to Dwight Howard on Orlando, but if you haven't noticed, Anderson's numbers are just as good as Howard's are this season.
Coming off the bench, Ryan Anderson is instant offense that the New Orleans Hornets can use as they are continuously behind in each basketball game. Anderson has great size for an outside shooter at 6 foot 10. He leads the Hornets at 17.9 points and 7 rebounds per game. Anderson is also shooting 40.3% from beyond the arc while attempting nearly 8- 3 pointers per game. Look for a steady dose of Vasquez to Anderson against the favorite Mavericks.
A Fantasy Phenom
Point guard Greivis Vasquez has been playing off the charts as of late. In his last 10 games, Vasquez is putting up monster numbers to the tune of 17.1 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game. These are even better numbers than Jason Kidd in his prime. Obviously, Vasquez has a long way to go to be on the same level as Kidd, but the sky is the limit for this young upstart. He can turn it on in any game at any time.
More O.J. Please!
Guard O.J. Mayo started this season like a ball out of a cannon, but his since simmered down. He's still averaging 18.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds this season, but Mayo's average has dropped dramatically in his last 10 games to 14.3 points per game and his presence hasn't been there like it was earlier in the season. This could be partially due to the return of Dirk Nowitzki and just flatout sub-par play.
Mayo is coming off of a huge game against the Miami Heat in which he had 30 points and 6 assists on 12 for 21 shooting from the field. Mayo is the youth on a veteran squad and the Mavericks need him to assert himself like he did in his previous game in order for them to get back near the .500 mark. Look for O.J. Mayo to have a big game here.
Dirk Nowitzki is also starting to get his legs back as he played 29 minutes against Miami and had 19 points and 6 rebounds. If Nowitzki could even be 75% of what he was in the past, Dallas would destroy a team like New Orleans and emerge as a playoff contender. Will Dirk be able to return to his old form is the question?
Dallas is coming off of a defeat, but we must remember that it was against the defending NBA Champions, and they put up a good fight. Look for Mayo and Nowitzki to both return to their old forms, surrounded by veterans such as Vince Carter and Shawn Marion who could put up 20 points on any given night. Look for Dallas to cover against a team that has not yet learned how to win.
NBA Free Picks: Dallas -5.5 at 5 Dimes