Before we get to tonight’s pick, a quick congrats to Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets for knocking off the Knicks last night. Lin played well in what HAD to be an emotional game for him, and hopefully this will close a chapter in the “Lin-sanity” book and let him get back to being a good, and possibly very good, NBA basketball player.
OK, let’s get down to business and find another win against the spread.
Los Angeles Lakers -1.5 at Dallas Mavericks (Total: 206)
Waiting….still waiting…. Hello? Anyone home in La-La Land? Fans and casual observers alike keep waiting for the switch to flip and things to start working in Los Angeles, but it still hasn’t happened. Even the celebrated arrival of Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t jumpstart the stagnant Laker offense (and let’s not even talk about their basically invisible defense). The Lakers have lost two more in a row; an excusable loss to the quietly as-good-as-anyone in the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, and an inexcusable slaughtering at the hands of the Sacramento Kings.
A loss tonight would send the Lakers to their worst start in nearly two decades. Suffice it to say things won’t get any more pleasant for the Lakers and their new coach should they drop a third straight tonight.
Enter the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are off to a good 7-6 start, a start made particularly impressive by the fact that they have done it all without Dirk Nowitski, who will still be out for at least another month. OJ Mayo has done a fantastic job picking up the offensive slack and has emerged as a legitimate upper-tier NBA off-guard. He scored 27 points and played fantastic in their 114-111 win over the Knicks earlier this week.
On paper, it seems like Los Angeles should win this game easily every time. Yet on paper, it is hard to fathom the Lakers being just 6-7 on the season. Yet they are…
There is one big reason I like Dallas tonight. The Mavericks are playing at home, and haven’t played since Thursday in their win over the Knicks. The Lakers, despite the extra motivation of trying to avoid losing a third straight game are still playing their third game in four nights, all on the road. NBA teams tend to fare poorly on the back-end of back-to-backs. Those numbers are even worse for teams playing their third game in four nights. The Lakers are old and banged up. I like Dallas’s fresher legs to prevail and to grab the win at home.
Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks +1.5