Swinging Johnson - NBA Record (3-6, -10.6 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
One step forward and two steps back is the way my NBA campaign has gone thus far. I let the first half of the season go by, hoping to lock on like a laser beam to the teams’ strengths and weaknesses but I’ve been swinging and missing. I chose to back the stumbling Knicks over the bumbling Sixers on Sunday and though New York won 99-93, they let a double digit lead crumble which led to a blown cover for two units.
Dallas Mavericks (25-31 SU, 31-24-1 ATS)
I listened to an interview Mavs owner Mark Cuban gave recently on Howard Stern’s Sirius Satellite radio show and I came away more than impressed by his down-to-earth quality and a guy who appreciates every moment of being a billionaire without any of the “shame” involved in spending $90,000 on a bottle of champagne when the Mavs won the NBA championship. By the way, he said it didn’t taste any different than any other bottle of bubbly.
But sipping champagne while hosting the NBA trophy aloft does not appear to be in the cards for Cuban and the Mavericks this season and he even said as much, that this season was about clearing cap space for the next big push which will happen two years from now. At least he’s honest. Dallas dropped a 95-90 decision at home to the Bucks despite being installed as 5 ½ point favorites in your NBA odds and an epic performance from Dirk Nowitzki who tallied 21 points and 20 rebounds, his first 20-20 points/rebound performance since 2003.
Nowitzki will need another huge night if the Mavericks are going to walk out of Memphis with a notch in the win column. However, the Dallas legend has not fared well in Memphis, averaging only 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in his last three visits to the Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll.
Memphis Grizzlies (37-18 SU, 32-21-2 ATS)
The Grizzlies are one of the best home teams in the league this year, 22-8 straight up and 17-13 against the spread in NBA odds. They are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak (5-2 ATS) and claimed the Brooklyn Nets as their latest victim in a defensive struggle that saw Memphis prevail on the Nets home court, 76-72 as three point road favorites.
It appears that the triumvirate of Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis that they got in exchange for Rudy Gay has found their footing after stumbling out of the block with three losses in four outings after the deal was sealed. This is not a team that will beat you in a shootout but rather slowly strangle the offensive life out of their opponents, ranking 2nd in the NBA allowing only 89.6 PPG. Conversely, if you can get them into a run-and-gun rhythm, your chances increase tremendously due to their lack of offensive explosion, averaging only 93.4 PPG (ranked 27th).
The Mavs blew the Grizzlies out 104-83 in Dallas the last time these two teams met on January 12th but when the venue switches to the bluesy metropolis of Memphis, things change. The Grizzlies are 4-1 straight up and 3-1-1 against the spread in your NBA odds on their home court against Dallas.
Dallas is averaging a paltry 81.5 PPG and shooting only 41% from the floor over their last four trips to Memphis. What’s even more alarming is that a team like Dallas, who gets it done with scoring (7th in the NBA averaging 101.3 PPG), has scored under a hundred points in their last two games, both losses to the Lakers and Bucks respectively, teams not known for stellar defense.
Factor in that Dallas had to fly directly to Memphis after their loss at home last night. Back-to-back games in the NBA are a recipe for disaster, particularly when the Grizzlies have had the luxury of hibernating for three days. My only reservation about backing Memphis here is that they play a slow-tempo game which correlates to low scoring games and not blowout victories.
One thing about Dallas is they keep their games close and I always enjoy being on the opposite side of the squares who will truly pound Memphis in this one.
NBA Free Picks: Play the Mavericks + 7 ½ for 2 units at 5Dimes.com for your NBA picks.
Also, check out the Nuggets as they go to dreaded Rose Garden to face the Trail Blazers at home~