Dallas Mavericks (9-23) at Miami Heat (16-15)
I brought you another winner last night, as I was on the Chicago Bulls against Lebron and the Cavs. It was a tight one as I predicted, and the Bulls had a couple clean looks at threes to tie the game and force overtime late, but couldn’t connect. The Bulls lost by three, but we cashed our tickets, getting 10.5 points. Tonight, I will be focusing on a matchup up two teams that nobody expected a lot from this year, the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.
The Dallas Mavericks aren’t any good this year. In fact, they are pretty bad. It’s sad to see a Mark Cuban owned team struggle so badly. Dirk is clearly at the end of the road, and they don’t have a great outlook for the future. This looks like at least a three-year rebuild for the Mavericks. Their nine wins on the season are amongst the lowest in the league.
The Mavericks have lost six out of their last eight games and have lost six in a row on the road. This team just doesn’t have much ability to go on the road and win games this season. The squad is one of the worst scoring teams in the league at just 43% shooting from the field. There just isn’t a lot of good things I can say about Dallas this year.
The Miami Heat are another team that is in need of a rebuild. The days of the big 3 are gone. Lebron and Wade are reunited in Cleveland, and the Heat is left with Goran Dragic leading the team. Not exactly something that fuels confidence. That being said, the Heat have been serviceable this year. Entering play today, Miami is just one game behind three teams in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs.
I assume Heat GM Pat Riley will slow that down at some point, so they don’t sneak into the playoffs in the eight spot, just to get swept. He would much rather take a trip to the lottery than the playoffs this year. But its too early to start talking tanking for Miami, and they are competing night in and night out. They played one of, if not the, best team in the NBA, in their last game out, the Boston Celtics, in Boston, and walked away with the victory.
And that was without Dragic and Justice Winslow. The Heat only had nine players in uniform and managed to knock off the top seed in the East. It was an impressive feat fuel by Kelly Olynik exploding for a career-high 34 points.
The Heat are likely to be without Dragic again tonight and will be undermanned yet again. That is what has kept this line a close one. The line opened at even, and the sharps quickly jumped on it as they realized the Mavericks can’t win on the road. As it sits now the line is Miami -1.5 points. If both teams were at full strength, I could see this line being 8-9.
This is a bit of a tough spot with Miami being so shorthanded. They were able to beat Boston behind a Herculean effort from Olynik, but that was a game in which the big man was being celebrated in his return to Boston after being a fan favorite, so I don’t expect the same level of effort out of him tonight. I loved this line when it opened at even, and I still like it at -1.5. Dallas just doesn’t have the firepower to win against decent teams on the road. And as much as Pat Riley might hate to say it, this Miami Heat team is a decent one this year. Give me the home court Miami Heat -1.5-points tonight!