This season is really getting away from the Dallas Mavericks. They’ve been getting steamrolled by the NBA odds, and they probably won’t have Monta Ellis for Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 27: 61-58-5 ATS, 6-11 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
The Dallas Mavericks are probably still going to make the playoffs. Probably. But they’re not going to scare anyone at this rate. The Mavericks are 5-6 SU and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games; on Friday, they got smashed 94-76 by the San Antonio Spurs, missing out on yet another payday as 8.5-point road underdogs. We hope you’ve been fading Dallas early and often as part of your NBA picks.
Worse, the Mavericks (45-28 SU, 32-29-2 ATS) may have lost the services of one of their better players. Monta Ellis took a knee to his right calf early in the second half against San Antonio and didn’t return; he ended up on crutches and is considered “very doubtful” to play Sunday night (7:00 p.m. ET) against the Indiana Pacers. Dallas is a 1-point road dog on the NBA odds at press time.
It won’t be too much of a disaster if Ellis (17.2 PER, plus-0.3 BPM) can’t play for the Mavericks. He a high-volume mid-range shooter who only cans 30.1-percent of his trey attempts. Ellis is also lacking somewhat on the defensive end (minus-0.6 DBPM), which seems to be a question of hustle more than talent. On the good side, Ellis is quick, athletic and creative enough to put in 20.4 points for every 36 minutes of work.
This is where we would normally trot out that old chestnut about how deep the Mavs are in the backcourt. Unfortunately, J.J. Barea (15.3 PER, minus-1.2 BPM) has missed three games with a sprained ankle and is considered questionable for Sunday – although Barea says he’s hopeful to play. That would leave a pair of back-up point guards in Devin Harris (15.1 PER, plus-1.3 BPM) and Ray Felton (9.3 PER, minus-5.5 BPM) to take Ellis’ place in the starting lineup.
Of course, we can’t talk about the Dallas backcourt without talking about Rajon Rondo (11.2 PER, minus-1.6 BPM). He appears to be the primary reason the Mavericks are in this mess in the first place. Things have improved somewhat in recent weeks; Rondo has his true shooting percentage up to 46.6 for the month of March, and he’s 5-for-7 from the free-throw line after going 3-for-15 the previous two months. But you can tell by Rondo’s lack of freebie attempts that he’s just not the player he was with the Boston Celtics, before the knee injury and all the other injuries.
Paul Is Dead
And now, your daily Paul George update: Not yet. The Pacers (31-41 SU, 37-32-3 ATS) were hoping to trot out their team MVP at some point this week, but George’s season debut is still on hold, and he’s going to be on Indiana’s inactive list Sunday. The latest chatter about George’s readiness doesn’t sound very promising, either.
Meanwhile, Rodney Stuckey (16.3 PER, plus-0.4 BPM) remains sidelined with a sore left calf, and he’s considered questionable for Sunday; again, the word on the street isn’t terribly optimistic that Stuckey will play. The Pacers have gone 1-2 SU and ATS during his absence, extending their recent malaise to 2-7 SU and ATS. And things were going so well.
Ah, but that’s not all. David West (16.1 PER, plus-1.7 BPM) suffered an allergic reaction and missed Thursday’s 111-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. We’re showing the closing line at Bucks –4, although other archives are showing –1.5; that’s where the line opened, before West fell ill. Either way, it looks like West will be able to play Sunday. We’re not ecstatic about betting on either of these teams right now, so we’re recommending the OVER, which is 4-0 in Indiana’s last four games and 23-13 for Dallas on the road.
Free NBA Pick: Take the OVER at BetOnline