NBA Picks: Heat at Mavericks Game 4 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/7/2011
The only chance the Dallas Mavericks had in these NBA Finals was if their vastly superior bench depth was enough to even out the fact that Dallas has just one superstar – Dirk Nowitzki – against the Heat’s trio of stars: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. In Game 1, Miami’s bench had a double-digit advantage in points over the Mavs. Heat won. In Game 2, the Dallas bench had a double-digit advantage in points over Miami’s. Mavs won. In Game 3, Dallas had just a 25-19 edge in reserve points, which just isn’t going to get it done. Miami won to take home-court advantage back and 2-1 series lead.
Heat at Mavericks Betting Story Lines
The Heat continue to be masterful in fourth-quarter defense. Miami shut down NBA MVP Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter of their conference finals series win over the Bulls and the Heat are doing much the same thing to Dallas’ No. 2 option, Jason Terry. Nowitzki has been terrific as he scored Dallas’ final nine points in Game 2 and final 12 in Game 3’s 88-86 loss. But Terry, the team's second-leading scorer, was 0-of-4 from the floor in the fourth quarter and is now 0-for-7 combined in the fourth quarter of the Mavs’ two losses in this series. Terry has averaged 14.3 points during the Finals on 38-percent shooting, a significant drop from the first three playoff series, when he averaged 17.3 points on 47.1-percent shooting.
Terry isn’t the only bench guy struggling. Peja Stojakovic is 1-of-5 from the floor and 0-of-4 from three-point range in the series. He has played just 11 minutes in the past two games and zero in the second half. J.J. Barea, who was a major sparkplug against the Thunder, is shooting 21.7 percent from the floor and 12.5 percent from the three-point range.
That Dallas bench could also be shorthanded again in Game 4. The Mavericks won't know about Brendan Haywood's availability for Game 4 until probably right before the game. He was scheduled to go for a second MRI on Monday afternoon and will find out more about his right hip flexor strain. He missed Game 3 with the injury. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Haywood, who has averaged 16 minutes a game behind Tyson Chandler this postseason, will again likely be a game-time decision. Haywood doesn’t put up huge numbers, but is at least a deterrent for LeBron and Wade when they come flying into the lane. Without Haywood, Dallas was outscored 40-22 in the paint Sunday. The teams were dead even in that statistic coming into Game 3 with each having 64 points in the first two games. Haywood’s backup, Ian Mahinmi played eight minutes, two more than he had combined in his three appearances the Mavericks' first 17 playoff games. He made two free throws, missed his only shot and had one rebounds to go with his five fouls. If Haywood can’t go again, Chandler will have to play too many minutes and could get worn down. Chandler played 40 minutes in Game 3 and acknowledged that he was hesitant early in the game to be aggressive at both ends of the floor out of fear of picking up early fouls.
Also, the Mavs have already ruled out swingman Caron Butler again as well.
By the way, how unusual was Sunday’s win? Dallas owns a 14-game regular-season winning streak vs. Miami and hadn’t lost at home to the Heat in the regular season since March 2, 2003. But now Miami has two Finals wins in Big D since then. The first clinched the 2006 title for the Heat.
Heat at Mavericks Betting Odds and Key Trends
Dallas opened as a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 186.5, according to NBA odds.
Miami is 8-1 ATS in its past nine on a day’s rest. Heat are 4-1 ATS in past five on road.
Mavs are 5-0 ATS in past five following a loss.
The ‘under’ is 6-1 in Miami’s past seven as a dog.
The ‘over’ has yet to hit in this series.
NBA Picks: Heat at Mavericks Predictions
Is the series over? Since the NBA adopted the 2-3-2 format, there have been 11 times when the finals have been tied 1-1. The Game 3 winner has won the championship every time. And in reality Miami could be going for the sweep on Tuesday if not for that epic collapse in Game 2. I am going to be a bit wishy-washy here. If Haywood plays, I think the Mavs win and cover. If he doesn’t, the Heat win outright. But Miami has lost one road game in all three previous playoff series so far. And stick with the ‘under’.
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