Dallas Mavericks (11-25) at New Orleans Pelicans (18-16)
Last night was likely the worst beat of the season for my NBA bets. I backed the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road, getting 3.5 points against the Milwaukee Bucks. Everything was looking great in the third quarter as the Wolves were up 74-54 with just over seven minutes remaining. They were cruising to what looked like an easy road win. Then the wheels absolutely fell off.
The Wolves held the lead until 2:25 left in the game before they finally completely laid down and let the Bucks run away with a 102-96, point spread covering victory. That one hurts. What can you do, bad beats happen in sports betting, and I am sure we were on the right side of that matchup, so on to the next one.
The Dallas Mavericks take their dysfunctional show on the road tonight as they head to the Big Easy to face the New Orleans Pelicans. Dallas has the worst record in the Western Conference and if it weren’t for the joke of a squad they are running out onto the court in Atlanta, would be the worst team in the NBA.
The Pelicans are currently battling for the eight seed in the West at 18-16 and have won three straight entering play tonight. The Pelicans are -6.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 212.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
If you are an avid reader of my daily picks, you know how I feel about the Dallas Mavericks, this season. They are garbage, hot, stinky garbage. They don’t have a lot of talent left on the roster, and what little talent they do have, you can expect to be shipped off at some point before the trade deadline. It is getting harder and harder to fade the Mavs though, as the books, and the public, are finally starting to catch on that this team is really, really bad.
Harrison Barnes is a nice piece, and Dennis Smith Jr. looks like a star in the making, but the rest of the roster is weak. Dirk is clearly done, and I would expect this season to be his final swan song. It is sad to see such an NBA legend go out like this, but what can you do. In the modern NBA, you are getting younger and better, fast, or you are getting older and slower, fast, we know which way the Mavericks are headed right now.
I’m not going to lie. I thought when the New Orleans Pelicans matched up young superstar Anthony Davis with long troubled, but very talented big man, DeMarcus Cousins, they had the building blocks for a championship. This felt like Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon getting paired together. It hasn’t really worked out that way yet. Right now, the Pelicans are just fighting to stay above .500, they aren’t world beaters by any means.
Cousins seems to be doing his part, he might be having his best season ever. The big man is going for 26 points, 12 boards, and over 5 dimes a game. And “the brow” Anthony Davis, hasn’t seen his production slip much either as he is averaging 25 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. So why are the Pelicans struggling to win games?
It might be because they haven’t had a pass-first facilitator to get the ball to those bigs down low. With the addition of Rajon Rondo, they do now. Rondo was signed in the offseason but missed the start of the season with a hernia and was eased back into the rotation.
There is no more easing for Rondo as he exploded for a career-high 25 assists in a game last week against the Brooklyn Nets. Rondo is not looking to score at all at this point, and has had seven assists or more six times in his last ten games. Getting Rondo on board leading this offense just might be the key to unlocking success this year for New Orleans.
New Orleans hasn’t been great so far, this year. I see good things coming from them as Rondo blossoms as the leader of this offense, but they aren’t elite, and they aren’t going to be. They are a borderline top six seed that will lose in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. But they are a lot better than the Dallas Mavericks this year. You don’t need to be a great team to beat the Mavericks this year, you don’t even really need to be a good team to beat Dallas. You just have to give a consistent effort and play all 40 minutes, and you are likely to beat the Mavs.
With New Orleans coming off a day off they should be well rested and playing on their home court, they should be giving a full effort. Assuming both of those things are true, New Orleans should be able to easily handle an outmatched Dallas Mavericks team tonight. When Rondo has played big minutes, he has had big results, and after his 25-assist game, I expect that the ball will be in his hands a lot tonight, and that is a good thing if you are a Pelicans fan. Give me the New Orleans Pelicans in a not that close of an affair, 108-97, with plenty of room to cover the -6.5 number.