Dallas at New York
Time: Thursday, 7 PM CST, TNT
Spread: DAL -7
Odds c/o 5dimes
The much-improved Dallas Mavericks stand at 6-4 as it hosts the visiting New York Knicks in the first half of an NBA TNT doubleheader. Dallas is 7-point favorites over the Knicks, with the over/under set at 216.5 points per oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Dallas Mavericks have been something of a surprise so far at 6-4. Perhaps it should not be. Luka Doncic has made the necessary steps from his great rookie season to one of the truly elite players in the league, and Kristaps Porzingis certainly seems strong and healthy again. With that duo, the Mavericks have one of the best 1-2 punches in the Association. It is depth where things begin to get shakier, as the team is short on the No. 3 and No. 4 options.
Doncic is averaging nearly a triple-double with 27.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, and he is drawing comparisons basically to a “Euro LeBron James,” at this point. Porzingis has assumed the role of the No. 2 option, and he has faired well. The former New York Knick is averaging 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game. Tim Hardaway Jr and JJ Barea round out the other double-digit scorers for Dallas, but both averaged under 12 points per game.
Dallas still tallies 116.3 per game, though, with a deep 12-man rotation. While Dallas may lack some of the necessary complementary parts to make Doncic and Porzingis really thrive, the team is building steam and it could be a surprise in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Doncic is making his name. Porzingis is healthy.
The Mavericks can be a really dangerous team, and soon–but it probably needs to either add a third big scorer or get more out of Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway has shown a great offensive prowess over his career, and 11.9 points per game seem kind of like the bare minimum that can be asked of the former second-round pick.
The New York Knicks is 2-9 on the season and just 1-3 at home where it will host the Mavericks tonight. New York has dropped its last two and six of its last seven. Though it has just two wins on the season, one of those was over tonight’s opponent, when the Knicks defeated Dallas 106-102 on the road.
The Knicks won that affair despite 38 points from Mavericks’ second-year superstar Luka Doncic. New York got a huge game out of Marcus Morris, who shot 22 field goals in the game, knocking down 10, including 4 of 8 from three-point range. All starters except rookie RJ Barrett scored in double-figures. Barrett was just 1 of 9 from the floor in the game, but he did add eight boards and four assists.
Barrett, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has been very good, even if he has been inconsistent. The last outing he had 21 points in 32 minutes against the Chicago Bulls, but he managed just 12 points in the two games combined leading up to that. On the season, the former Duke Blue Devil is averaging 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists. His efficiency has been poor, but part of that is a product of the disorganized Knick offense— the other part is due to the players within it being somewhat unsure of their exact roles in the offense.
Morris has thrived in the vacant offense, taking on the role of the No. 1 scorer, and doing fairly well—but his PER of 14.72 highlights some inefficiency and spells the story mostly of a replacement-level forward embracing a big role on a depleted team. Barrett is the No. 2 scorer, and Julius Randle has been decent at 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The biggest disappointment for the Knicks has been second-year big man Mitchell Robinson.
Despite high billing after his rookie season, he has seen just 17 minutes a night and other than his 1.9 blocked shots is not making a huge impact. Bobby Portis, too, has been wildly inconsistent and unreliable from the center position. This has led the Knicks to start the 6’8” Taj Gibson at the 5-spot, and well, that and the other incongruities on the roster are fairly easy to account for this team sitting at just 2-9 thus far in the season.
With a mostly healthy roster, there is no reason to expect any massive turnaround, and Dallas should be able to beat up on the Knicks tonight with former Knick Kristaps Porzingis having something of a revenge game. Oh, yes, and he will be booed loudly, assuredly.