Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
It’s been a dreadful season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but don’t expect tonight’s opponent to take any pity. The Dallas Mavericks head to the Staples Center in the thick of a tight chase for the final three spots in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The Mavericks sit seventh, trailing Golden State by 1.5 games for the sixth spot. The Lakers are just 14-23 at home and will be 8 point underdogs, according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada, to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs.
We could have expected that Mark Cuban would do whatever it took to keep the Mavs competitive, as long as Dirk Nowitzki is still playing. And he is. And still pretty darn well, by most reckonings. Thought the 7-foot German has clearly lost a step or two, he still averages 21.6 points per game in just 32 minutes a night, and also snags over six rebounds per game.
Pairing free agent Monta Ellis with Nowitzki proved to be a wise move, for though Ellis is known as an inefficient scorer, he is a scorer nonetheless. Ellis is second to Dirk in scoring at 18.9 points per game, and the Mavs have a plethora of efficient and productive role players, raging from the aged Vince Carter and Shawn Marion to journeyman Samuel Dalembert.
The Mavericks are weak on the interior and Dalembert isn’t the rim protector he once was, but the Mavs made no effort to pursue the (available) Omer Asik while Daryl Morey was trying to deal him. Consequently, the team will go forth with its fast paced offense. It’s worked reasonably well, but few are expecting the Mavs to be able to upset a top seed in a first round matchup.
The Lakers are headed straight for the lottery at 25-50. Kobe Bryant was cleared to play basketball a month ago, but is sitting out the remainder of the season to preserve his career (and to help the Lakers snag a higher pick, presumably).
Bryant said weeks ago he would not mind mentoring either Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins if the Lakers were to bring either youngster in, and that may be the remainder of Bryant’s career: Helping a new star establish himself in the league while potentially pursuing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record. Mamba would never preclude the possibility of winning another ring, but with Kevin Durant starting to hit his true prime and stride, it seems the Mamba may have to “settle” for retiring with five rings.
DAL Trends: OVER 5-0 in last 5 road games vs teams with home winning percentage below .400; OVER 5-0 in last 5 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game; OVER 4-0 in last 4 following SU win.
LAL Trends: 1-5 ATS in last 6 games vs teams with winning SU records; OVER 4-1 in last 5 Friday games; OVER 6-2 in last 8 when opponent scores 100 points or more in previous game.
Head-to-head: UNDER 4-1 in last 5 meetings; Mavericks 10-4 ATS in last 14 meetings in Los Angeles.