The Dallas Mavericks honked a big early lead against Golden State Wednesday night. Will they have the mental fortitude to beat Thursday’s basketball odds when they visit the Sacramento Kings?
Jason’s record as of Feb. 4: 30-28-3 ATS, 2-4 Totals
There’s a reason why some handicappers refuse to watch the games they’ve got money on. We had Wednesday’s night’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks up on our SuperGeniusTron 5000, and our lone NBA pick of the day was looking pretty good early when Dallas (+8) went up 24-4 in the first quarter. But we’ve seen this picture before: Golden State went supernova from downtown (19-of-38) and stormed back to win 128-114. Stephen Curry hit 10 of his 16 trey attempts and finished the game with 51 points. A remote may or may not have been thrown at the screen.
Let’s hope the Mavericks have access to some good mental coaching. Or maybe a nice cup of chamomile tea. They have to climb right back on the horse and play the Sacramento Kings Thursday night (10:00 p.m. ET), and if the Mavs don’t get their collective underwear un-bunched, Sacramento could steal one as a 3-point home dog on our NBA odds board.
Dirk Would Like to Have a Word with You
If you didn’t catch Wednesday’s Mavericks-Warriors game, not only did you miss Curry’s epic performance, you also missed the way Dallas (33-18 SU, 24-26-1 ATS) came unglued at the end. The final nail in the coffin was Devin Harris making a poor pass to Dirk Nowitzki with two minutes remaining, causing a turnover that led to a pair of Curry free throws and extended Golden State’s lead to nine points. Nowitzki was visibly upset at Harris. Glowering, even.
It’s a shame, because for the most part, the Mavericks played very good basketball for the first three quarters. They were lighting it up from long range, running the floor, making coast-to-coast plays, and defending with vigor. The point guard combo of Harris (14.3 PER) and starter J.J. Barea (16.0 PER) scored 18 points with 12 assists and hit 4-of-9 from behind the arc. Their ability to replace the injured Rajon Rondo (12.4 PER) was the reason we picked Dallas in the first place.
Fortunately, we’re not results-oriented around here (cough cough Super Bowl cough). And we also don’t put too much stock in a team’s attitude souring overnight. But having to play on zero days of rest after running up and down the floor with Golden State might not make Dallas a very good basketball pick for Thursday.
Nik at Nite
Then again, these are the Sacramento Kings (17-30 SU, 19-26-2 ATS) we’re talking about here. They’re 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games. They’re also 6-17 SU and 6-15-2 ATS since firing head coach Mike Malone and replacing him with Tyrone Corbin, who is presumably carrying out the orders of owner Vivek Ranadivé. Hey, it’s his team. He can call the shots if he wants to.
Ranadivé isn’t even wrong for wanting to turn the Kings into a run-and-gun team like Golden State – or the Mavericks, for that matter. We’re trying not to bother anymore with the usual hand-wringing over how business should or shouldn’t be done. You can get plenty of that elsewhere. All that matters for our NBA picks is that the Sacramento roster, as assembled today, is not built for speed. It’s built to destroy.
Look at DeMarcus Cousins (25.0 PER). This man is nearly seven feet tall and weighs about 900 pounds, more or less. He’s Sacramento’s best player by a country mile, the team’s leading scorer at 24.9 points per 36 minutes. And he’s taken exactly two 3-point shots this year (1-for-2). The Kings’ second-best player, Rudy Gay (19.5 PER), is a mid-range volume scorer. The team’s best 3-point shooter is point guard Darren Collision at just 37.3 percent. Ranadivé’s hand-picked first-rounder, Nik Stauskas, is 27.4 percent from long distance. We’ll keep fading the Kings for now, thank you kindly.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks