2015 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference First Round
#2 Houston Rockets vs #7 Dallas Mavericks
Series Price: Houston -245 / Dallas +205
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
Game #1 Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Houston -5 1/2
Current Line: Houston -5
Opening Total: 210
Current Total: 213
Opening Money Line: Rockets -214 / Mavericks +186
Current Money Line: Rockets -240 / Mavericks +200
The 56-26 Houston Rockets and 50-32 Dallas Mavericks meet in the playoffs for only the third time ever and first time since 2005. The winner will play either the #3 Los Angeles Clippers or #6 San Antonio Spurs in the next round.
Houston won the Southwest Division by a game over the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. It was the first division title for the Rockets since 1994 when they won the first of back-to back NBA Championships. Dallas finished fourth in the Southwest six games behind the Rockets. All five Southwest Division teams made the playoffs including the New Orleans Pelicans.
Houston is in the playoffs for the third straight season. They lost in the first round the last 2 seasons, and haven’t won a playoff series since 2009. Dalals is in the playoffs for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons, but hasn’t made it out of the first round since winning the championship in 2011.
Houston won three of the four meetings this season against Dallas, but every game was decided by 11 points or less. Houston won at home 95-92 November 22 and 99-94 January 28. Houston also won in Dallas 108-101 April 2. Dallas won at home 111-101 February 20.
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Dallas is coached by Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks won 4 of the last 5 to close out the regular season. Dallas won at home against the Portland Trail Blazers 114-98 Wednesday night. The Mavericks are 36-44-2 ATS and the total is 38-43-1. Dallas was a 6.5 point favorite against Portland and the total was 208.
Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. The Rockets won three straight games to close out the regular season. Houston won at home Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz 117-91. The Rockets are 48-34 ATS and the total is 40-42 this season. Houston was a 1.5 point favorite against Utah and the total was 193.5.
Dallas is outscoring teams 105-102 this season. The Mavericks are 33 in scoring but #25 in points allowed. Dallas is shooting 46.3% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Mavericks are #5 in field goal percentage. Dallas makes 75.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. The Mavericks are #27 in three point defense. Dallas averages 42.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 46.1 per game. The Mavericks are #23 or worse in both categories. Dallas averages 22.5 assists, 8.1 steals and 4.5 blocks per game.
Monta Ellis averages 18.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Dirk Nowitzki averages 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Chandler Parsons averages 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. The former Rocket is probable with a knee injury. Amar’e Stoudemire 10.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Tyson Chandler averages 10.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Rajon Rondo averages 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals. Devin Harris is questionable with a toe injury.
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Houston is outscoring teams 104-101 this season. The Rockets are #5 in scoring. Houston is shooting 44.2% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. The Rockets make 71.5% of their free throws and are #27 in that category. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 32.1% from 3 point range. Houston leads the league in 3 point defense. The Rockets average 43.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.9 per game. Houston averages 22.2 assists, 16.1 turnovers, 9.5 steals and 4.8 blocks per game.
James Harden is one of the top two MVP candidates along with Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Harden averages 27.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Dwight Howard averages 15.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. He has missed about half the season with various injuries. Trevor Ariza averages 13 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Donatas Motiejunas is out for the season with a back injury. He averaged 12 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Josh Smith averages 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Terrance Jones averages 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Corey Brewer averages 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Patrick Beverley averages 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is out for the season with a broken wrist. K.J. McDaniels is out with a wrist injury.
Dallas is 18-6-2 in first round playoff games, 13-29-2 against Western Conference teams, 6-14 overall, 4-10 against teams with winning records, 3-9 in road games, 2-7 in Saturday games, 3-13 against teams with winning home records, and against Southwest teams, 3-9 in road games, 2-7 in Saturday games, 3-13 against teams with winning home records, 2-9 after a straight up win, 2-11 after scoring 100 points, and 1-6 after a cover. The last 4 games in this series have gone under the total, but the over is 5-2 in the series in Houston recently.
Houston is 4-0 ATS in first round playoff games, 7-1 against teams with winning road records, 6-1 on two days rest, 5-1 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and against Southwest teams, 7-2 after scoring 100 points or more, 18-7 at home, and 5-2 overall. The home team is 8-3 ATS in this series recently. The Rockets are 4-1 ATS both at home and overall against the Mavericks recently.
This should be a hard fought series. It will be interesting to see who Dallas puts on James Harden. Rondo could be a possibility. Still, I think the Rockets win in six games, starting tonight with a game #1 victory.