Lakers at Mavericks Odds and Game 3 NBA Picks
by Alan Matthews - 5/6/2011
Wow! When the Los Angeles Lakers lost Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, most just chalked it up to a bit of a hiccup at the end of the game after Los Angeles had dominated for three-plus quarters. Now? The Laker bandwagon is emptying faster than a Charlie Sheen concert in Salt Lake City. Has a two-time champion ever been looked at so differently after just two games of a playoff series? Now everyone is calling the Lakers old, tired, unfocused, discouraged, selfish, full of “trust issues,” you name it.
The Mavericks’ Game 2 93-81 victory was so easy it was more stunning than the Game 1 comeback. It’s evident now that the Lakers don’t have anyone able to guard Dirk Nowitzki, who had 24 points and seven boards in Game 2. But the true sparkplug was Dallas point guard J.J. Barea, who had 12 points and four assists as he seemed to get in the lane at will. By comparison, the entire Laker bench had 12 points – that bench was terrible in Game 1 as well. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum showed up, but really no one else did for the Lakers in Game 2. In addition, L.A. missed its first 15 three-point attempts, only barely avoiding its first playoff game without a three-pointer since May 8, 2001.
A Staples Center sweep was pretty stunning for a Mavericks team that had never won a road playoff game in L.A. and had lost 18 of its past 20 road playoff games before winning the clincher in Portland. The last time the Lakers lost the first two games of a series as the home team was 1977, when they lost to the eventual champion Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. Only three teams have lost the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home and come back to win the series: The 1969 Lakers, '94 Rockets and '05 Mavericks. Since acquiring Pau Gasol in the 2007-08 season, the Lakers have dropped a Game 1 at home just three times. The previous two times they won Game 2 and eventually the series. Obviously that streak is over.
Lakers at Mavericks Betting Story Lines
If you watched Game 2 it almost seemed imminent at the end that something was going to happen with L.A.’s Ron Artest as the whole team seemed frustrated. And, naturally, the hot-headed Artest couldn’t help himself. With the game totally not in question and Barea trying to run out the clock, Artest essentially clotheslined Barea and was immediately ejected with his second technical of the game. And you just knew with Artest’s background that the league would suspend him, and it did: He’s out for Game 3.
Now, Artest has done very little in this series, averaging 6.5 points while making only five of 18 shots (27.8 percent). But he’s still a solid defender who can help on Nowitzki despite giving up five inches or so. Dirk is averaging 26 points on 53 percent shooting with 21 rebounds in this series. And now Lamar Odom or Matt Barnes has to step into the starting lineup, making that struggling bench even weaker. Someone like Luke Walton might actually see the court now.
Problem No. 2 for the Lakers is clearly Gasol, who has been off all playoffs and isn’t even the best player in his family right now. He is averaging 14 points on 10-of-22 shooting (45 percent) for the series vs. his season average of 18.8 points and 53 percent shooting. He heard the boo-birds after missing a few free throws in Game 2. Last season during the playoffs, Gasol averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds on 53 percent shooting. This season, he is averaging 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds on 43 percent shooting. Out of the eight playoff games played, Gasol hasn’t once scored more than his 18.8 regular-season scoring average. And only once has he surpassed his regular season average of 10.2 rebounds.
Lakers at Mavericks Odds and Key Betting Trends
Dallas opened as 2.5-point favorites with the total at 186, according to NBA odds.
The Lakers are 10-4 ATS in their past 14 road games.
The Mavericks are 6-0 ATS in the past six home games.
The ‘under’ is 4-0 in L.A.’s past four as an underdog.
The ‘over’ is 8-2 in the Mavs’ past 10 at home vs. a team with a winning road record.
The road team has covered in 12 of the past 17 meetings.
NBA Picks: Lakers at Mavericks Predictions
The Mavericks beat Portland all three times in Dallas in the previous series by an average of 11 points per game. They were 1-1 in Big D vs. the Lakers during the regular season. Just throwing that out there. I honestly don’t know what to make of this game. I am one of those who thinks the Lakers can’t possibly look this bad again and will step things up because if not this thing is over, and in an embarrassing way. Not having Artest will hurt on defense, but maybe that actually helps on the offensive end. I take the Lakers and the points and the ‘over’.
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