NBA Pick: Are Mavericks Getting Swept this Sunday by Rockets?

David Lawrence

Saturday, April 25, 2015 5:53 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015 5:53 PM GMT

While the Mavericks put on a show Friday night, they didn’t get the win they wanted. Now they’re down 3-0 in the series, can they at least cash once on the NBA betting lines?

The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
They have demonstrated complete control of this series at the offensive end of the court. The Rockets have been unstoppable on offense, scoring at least 111 points in all three games. They scored 118 in Game 1 and 130 in Game 3. They’ve been able to do whatever they want against Dallas’ ineffective defense, which is why NBA odds placed them as road favorites for this match.

Josh Smith powered Houston’s offense in Game 2, and on Friday in Game 3, he continued to produce, scoring 18 points and hitting two three-point shots. Dwight Howard grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to give the Rockets the extra possessions they needed to win a shootout. Corey Brewer scored 15 points off the bench, hitting 6 of 11 field goals and being an important part of Houston’s overall attack. Yet, all these performances were secondary to what James Harden did for Houston. The Rockets’ superstar played like a superstar, and that’s how road playoff wins happen.

Harden hit 15 of 24 field goals. He made 5 of 7 three-pointers. He hit all seven free throws he attempted. Harden was balanced. He was versatile. He was accurate. He was efficient. He was everything a great scorer should be. He dished out nine assists and finished with 42 points. He doesn’t even need to be this good to get his team to win. If he’s 80 percent as good in Game 4, he’s still likely to give Houston the kind of numbers the Rockets need to prevail.

When capping the NBA playoffs, should bettors take the 'Playoff Atmosphere' into consideration?

The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They're going to be highly motivated to win, since their season is on the line. There’s a special kind of intensity a team gains when it falls well behind in a playoff series, to the point of being on the brink of elimination. The Mavericks will be playing to prolong their season, and no one wants to go home early. That will be a powerful push for Dallas, playing at home. This was a 50-win team during the regular season, and it’s hard to grasp the idea of a 50-win team failing to win a single playoff game. It’s not easy to bet on that.

The other reasons Dallas can win this game are very simple: Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Houston might be scoring a lot, but Dallas scored on an even pace with Houston on Friday in Game 3. It’s not just that Nowitzki and Ellis both scored 34 points for the Mavericks. What stood out is that they both hit over 50 percent of their field goal attempts. They were effective, not just productive. Players can score a lot but require a high number of field goal attempts to score those points. Nowitzki and Ellis didn’t take too many shots. Nowitzki scored his 34 on 19 field goals, and Ellis checked in with a still-reasonable 25. If they both play like that in Game 4, the Mavericks should be in good shape.

 

Outlook
The Mavericks are just about done in the series, but are they going to get swept? It’s likely. This is a veteran team that knows they are done and has a tall mountain to climb. And their goal was to win a Championship; not merely to survive Round 1. Beyond that, they still have no answers for the Rockets on defense. Look for Houston to close this thing out in Game 4 and add them to your Sunday's NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Rockets -3.5 at Bovada

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