The Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks clash at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night. The Wizards are feeling confident going into Dallas. They’re hot with wins in nine of their last ten games. It seems like a 125-121 win against the Utah Jazz on April 12 put this team in the right direction. That was a big win and confidence booster for the Wizards.
It made them believe that they can play and win against the elite teams in the NBA. Since then, their only loss has been against the San Antonio Spurs in overtime, 146-143. Bad teams tend to allow a loss like that to snowball, but the Wizards impressively came back for a 116-107 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Following the win, the Wizards blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 122-93 last night in Cleveland. They are up to 29-34 on the season and getting more comfortable in the Eastern Conference play-in picture. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Wizards would be going to the play-in tournament as the No. 10 seed.
The Wizards have a three-game advantage on the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors. The Bulls and Wizards are interested in going to the play-in tournament, while I don’t believe the Raptors are going to care one way or another. Two years after winning an NBA championship, they know this isn’t a championship team and likely wouldn’t be too disappointed if they’re on the outside.
Chicago, though, this is a team that traded for Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline with the expectations of going to the playoffs. The Vucevic trade has been a failure for the Bulls, though. Vucevic hasn’t too much of an impact, and the absence of Zach LaVine in Covid protocol at the moment doesn’t help matters. The Mavericks have been fine this season, but not much else to say about them.
Fine sums this Mavericks’ season up in one word. They go into Saturday with a record of 35-27 for sixth in the West. It’s certainly not bad, but a team with Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic in the starting lineup shouldn’t be fighting to avoid the play-in tournament. Doncic is expected back after missing a 115-105 win against the Pistons in Detroit, while Porzingis is listed as questionable. Head below for our free Wizards vs. Mavericks pick on May 1, 2021.
Washington Wizards vs. Dallas Mavericks NBA Betting Odds:
Wizards vs. Mavericks Prediction:
The Wizards looked out of sync with chemistry problems early in the season. That’s my only explanation for their slow start. Well, yeah, the Wizards weren’t showing any intensity on defense either, but you could say that’s why their defense was having so many problems. In any case, the Wizards weren’t playing as good as they could have been playing. A team with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal on the floor together shouldn’t have been games out of the playoff picture.
A lot has changed for the Wizards, and they’ve been playing hot basketball, with their only loss in overtime over the last two weeks. It can be attributed to more of an effort defensively. The Wizards have been far more aggressive defensively. While they gave up 146 points in a loss in OT against the Spurs, the Wizards have held teams to 110 points or below in six of their last eight games. Through their last five outings, the Wizards have conceded 113 points per game.
The production on offense hasn’t dropped for the Wizards as well. That’s what is most important, because what happens for some teams is the offense regresses after putting more of an emphasis on defense. In the Wizards’ previous five outings, they’ve recorded an average of 125.8 points per game. Washington has scored a minimum of 116 points in 11 straight outings. Overall, they are sixth in the NBA with 115 points notched per contest.
Conversely, the Mavericks have been an inconsistent group offensively. They have a tendency to go hot and cold. The Mavericks go into Saturday with 111.8 points per game for 17th in the league. Doncic is expected to be back in the lineup, but the status of Porzingis is not clear and is listed as questionable on the injury report. I’m not too interested in laying 5.5 points on an inconsistent Dallas squad against the surging Wizards.