NBA Picks: Thunder To Cover Spread & Finish Off Mavericks In Game 5

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 25, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

The Mavericks visit Oklahoma City on Monday night in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round series. The Thunder, who lead 3-1, are 14-point favorites on NBA odds with a total of 206.

Mavericks Try To Get Series Back To Dallas
I thought Dallas would cover a 10-point spread in Game 4 at home as it was essentially the Mavericks' season, but they weren't able to in a 119-108 loss. Thus you have to wonder if this might be future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki's final career playoff game. Oh, Dirk will play next season, but I don't believe the Mavs are going to reach the playoffs in 2017 with the expected improvements of the likes of Utah, New Orleans and now Minnesota with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau.

Nowitzki was easily the Mavericks' best player in Game 4 with 27 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Nowitzki passed Elgin Baylor (3,623) for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. He needs four points to pass Scottie Pippen (3,642) for 14th place on the list. Magic Johnson ranks 13th with 3,701 postseason points. It was Dirk's 108th career 20-point game in the postseason. But the Mavs were outscored by eight points with him on the court.

Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews each added 19 points. Deron Williams started but was able to play just one minute due to an abdominal strain/sports hernia and he's not likely to go here. J.J. Barea is dealing with a groin strain but expected to play and probably moves back into the starting lineup.

Dallas was tied with OKC at 13 in Game 4, but the Thunder closed the first period on a 20-5 run and really never looked back. Dallas got to within seven points several times but not any closer. Dallas attempted just 17 free throws, which was 17 fewer than the Thunder. Usually the home team in a game will get to the line more than the visitor.

The Mavericks are 17-19 all-time in playoff elimination games. They were 45-36-1 against the spread on NBA odds during the season and 39-42-1 O/U.


 

Thunder Can Get Rest Ahead Of Spurs
The second-seeded San Antonio Spurs already have finished off the Memphis Grizzlies and are home resting. Thus the Thunder no doubt would like to finish off Dallas here and get as much rest as they can ahead of a mega-clash with the Spurs in the conference semifinals. And the winner of that series could all of a sudden be the Western Conference favorite with the uncertain status of Golden State star Steph Curry's knee  injury. How serious that is will be determined on MRI results later Monday.

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 25 points and 15 assists in Game 4. Kevin Durant was held to 19 points on 7-for-20 shooting and was ejected late in the game for a flagrant foul. He's lucky he wasn't suspended for this game as the NBA office reviews all flagrant 2 fouls. Durant was called for one after hitting Justin Anderson in the face with his arm. Durant's shooting has been quite inconsistent in this series. He had scored at least 20 in 67 straight games, dating to Nov. 10, 2015, when Durant left a game against Washington at halftime with an injury.

Enes Kanter was great off the bench in Game 4 with 28 points on 12-for-13 shooting and six rebounds. He became the first NBA player with at least 25 points while shooting at least 90 percent from the field since Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka did it in June 2012 in the West Finals vs. San Antonio. Kanter was the first reserve to do it since Brad Davis of the Mavericks on in April 1986. In the three Thunder wins this series, Kanter is averaging 21.7 points (on 25-of-30 shooting) and 9.0 rebounds.

Assuming OKC does advance, it would be the only Western Conference team to advance past the first round in five of the last six seasons. The only time OKC didn't was last year when it missed the playoffs largely due to Durant's foot injury. Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 3-0 in Game 5s when leading a postseason series 3-1.

The Thunder were 37-44-1 ATS on NBA picks at home during the regular season and 39-43 O/U.

Dallas has stayed close in just one game in this series. Give the points and go 'over.' The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The 'over' is 7-3 in the past 10.

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Free NBA Pick:  Thunder -14½ -105 & Over 205½
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage and PInnacle Respectively