Down, But Far From Put
Even though the Spurs have lost their last two games and find themselves in a 1-2 hole, they still are NBA Odds favorites in this game of -4, with a total of 203. While I do think San Antonio will find their game on Monday, I don’t think their defense will suddenly go back to what it was in Game 1 of the series. The Spurs have the ability to play some defense, but just as Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are bad matchups for the Mavs, it appears Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis are just as bad for the Spurs.
Ellis and Dirk combined for 47 points on Saturday, and if the Spurs can’t slow down at least one of them, they are in serious trouble of repeating the 2011 postseason all over again. However I’m not sold on either team’s ability to stop one another, and that’s why I think the over has to be the play Monday night.
The last two games between these two have both gone over the total, and that makes four out of their last five meetings dating back to their final two regular season matchups. Dallas is now averaging scoring 104 points per game in their last ten games dating back to the regular season, and they are still giving up 102 points per game during that same stretch.
The Sharp Pick
I sincerely doubt the NBA’s coach of the year and the NBA’s best regular season team is broken right now, and I expect some great adjustments from Greg Popovich and his coaching staff in this game. They might have to choose whom to take out of this game, but taking out either Ellis or Nowitzki isn’t going to completely solve the Spurs’ defensive problems. It might improve their odds of slowing them down, but it also might leave some shooters wide open. The Mavs have a lot of shot makers outside of their two stars, and while I doubt it comes to straight double teams on Dirk, the Spurs will find someway to get the ball out of Dirk’s hands on big possessions.
However, if the Mavs are making shots when that happens, it might not help much or at all. This could lead to the over being very good value for Game 4, and I think the only play for this game is the total of 203. Even though it’s a little higher than the three previous totals of this series, it’s safe here in Dallas. The Spurs’ defense will still give up points on the road, and as long as it’s close or above 100 points, the total is the play for our NBA picks.
Dating back to the regular season, the over has now cashed in four of the Mavs’ last six games, and more importantly, all eight times Dallas has been a home underdog this regular and postseason, the total has gone a perfect 8-0 for the over. I see it one more time here before they head back to San Antonio for Game 5.
My Pick: OVER 203