The NBA odds are close for tonight's match between Dallas Mavericks & OKC City Thunder. They are holding down the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They are playing a Western Conference opponent which can very easily become imbalanced and way too dependent on a small cluster of players. The Oklahoma City Thunder have Russell Westbrook… and not too much else, now that Kevin Durant is out for the remainder of the season with continuously aggravated injuries that just haven’t gone away. Oklahoma City needed Westbrook to get 33 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in order to beat Phoenix this past Sunday. The Thunder actually trailed that game by eight at halftime, but they then held the Suns to just 35 points in the second half. One should not expect Dallas to suffer through a 35-point half or anything close to it in this game, which feels like something that could easily fall into the 100s instead of the 80s or low 90s in terms of a final score. Dallas’ offense is better than Phoenix’s offense, so if the Mavericks execute the way they know they can in this game, they have a very good chance of winning. NBA odds favorite Oklahoma City has to get a lot more out of Enes Kanter than the 11 points he put up this past Sunday against Phoenix.
The Oklahoma City Thunder Can Win Because…
They are facing a team that just can’t seem to get out of its own way… and which does not have the pieces needed to be an effective team, especially on the road. The Dallas Mavericks’ most recent game came on Sunday in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers. The Mavericks tried to find the right combination of players, with coach Rick Carlisle putting Richard Jefferson in the starting five as part of a “two-small forward” alignment with Chandler Parsons. Carlisle also played Amare Stoudemire nearly 20 minutes off the bench to protect starting center Tyson Chandler, whose back problems have never really left him over the past three years. With players being put on the court in varying alignments, it is hard for a team to find momentum and consistency, and Dallas is finding this out firsthand.
Jefferson, in 16 minutes, went 2 of 6 from the field, scoring only four points. Stoudemire was solid, hitting 5 of 12 shots for 11 points. Yet, since he played fewer minutes, his impact was not as great as it otherwise would have been. Three other Dallas reserves played at least 12 minutes, but could not hit more than one field goal in their time on the court. The Mavericks seem to be in a rut where a couple of players play well but the whole team doesn’t. Dallas isn’t getting the well-rounded help and joint collaborations which make for close-knit locker rooms and a high level of team morale. Oklahoma State, even without Kevin Durant, should feel good about its chances at home.
The Mavericks have been trending downward for a while as they’ve lost four of five including some pretty bad losses. Now they’re back on the road facing a team above .500; that’s not in their wheelhouse. They’re also not at full strength. That being the case, take Thunder with your NBA picks and lay the small number at home.
NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -2.5 at Pinnacle