Clippers at Mavericks Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/26/2013
Could this be the week the Dallas Mavericks players finally get to shave? A few months ago, the Mavs players made an NHL-type playoff pact that they wouldn’t shave until the team reached the .500 mark (as I’m sure you know, most hockey players don’t shave during the postseason). Well, Dallas is about there thanks to winning eight of its past 11 games to climb to 34-36. While most left the Mavs for dead in the playoff race, they are just two games behind the No. 8 Lakers for the West’s final spot. The time to make a move is now as the Mavericks are home for three games this week to conclude a six-game homestand. Then the team goes on a four-game road trip, including a potentially huge one April 2 at the Lakers.
The Clippers are going to make the playoffs, but they should feel a sense of urgency as well as they are in danger of falling out of the top four in the West and losing home-court advantage in the first round of the postseason. L.A. is No. 4 entering Monday’s action, a half-game behind red-hot Denver and a half-game ahead of No. 5 Memphis. The Clippers, as a division winner, would hold the tiebreaker with either Denver or Memphis. Of course, the Clips and Grizz faced off in last year’s first round of the playoffs, with fifth-seeded L.A. beating No. 4 Memphis in seven games.
Clippers at Mavericks Betting Story Lines
Dallas is 2-1 on this homestand, beating Utah 113-108 on Sunday last time out. Veteran journeyman Mike James, signed to a 10-day contract back in early January before getting a deal for the rest of the season, scored a season-high 19 against the Jazz (his most points in an NBA game since 2009). Dallas is 8-3 since James was inserted by coach Rick Carlisle into the starting lineup. James is averaging 10.4 points and 4.8 assists in those 11 games. James’ emergence has come at a good time as backup guard Rodrigue Beaubois will miss the rest of the regular season with a fracture in his hand. Somewhat concerning of late for Dallas has to be the play of O.J. Mayo. His scoring is down to 12.8 points this month, easily the worst of the season. He’s averaging 18.5 points and shooting 52 percent from the field in Dallas wins and averaging 14.5 points on 41.1 percent shooting in losses this year.
The Clippers have mostly treaded water this month and are 15-13 since starting an NBA-best 32-9. They beat Brooklyn 101-95 on Saturday for their first two-game winning streak of March – they haven’t lost two straight, though. Chris Paul had his best game in a while against the Nets with 29 points – 17 in the fourth quarter – and 11 assists. It was Paul's highest-ever point total in the fourth quarter of a win. Paul did bang his knee in the game and sat out practice Sunday but is fine.
L.A. has played the past two games without Chauncey Billups due to a groin injury, and he’s “iffy” for this one. At 36, Billups has had trouble staying on the court all season. Willie Green has been starting for him and had a season-high 15 points against Brooklyn. Green rarely gets any time when Billups does play. Backup guard Eric Bledsoe returned for Saturday’s game after being out since March 7 because of a calf injury.
This starts a crucial four-game road trip for Los Angeles, which then has just three road games the rest of the regular season. The Clippers have been routed in their past two games away from Staples Center. This is the final meeting of the season between these teams, with Los Angeles winning the first two. On Dec. 5 in L.A., the Clips won, 112-90. Dirk Nowitzki still hadn’t debuted this season for Dallas back then. Paul had 14 points and 13 assists. On Jan. 9 also in Los Angeles, the Clippers won 99-93. Paul had 19 points and 16 assists. That was rock bottom for Dallas as it fell 10 games under .500 for the first time since March 2000, two months after Mark Cuban bought the team. That was also the day the Mavericks signed James to that 10-day contract.
Clippers at Mavericks NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, this game opened as a pick’em with the total at 203. Los Angeles is 38-32 ATS (17-17 on road) and 37-33 “over/under” (16-18 on road). Dallas is 41-29 ATS (18-16 at home) and 41-27-2 O/U (21-11-2 at home).
The Clippers are 0-5 ATS in their past five after a win. They are 6-1 ATS in their past seven against teams with a winning record. Dallas is 18-4 ATS in the past 22 after an ATS loss. The over is 8-3 in the Clippers’ past 11 Tuesday games. The under is 9-1 in the Mavericks’ last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings. The Clippers have covered once in their past five at Dallas.
Clippers at Mavericks Picks and Betting Predictions
For some reason, Nowitzki isn’t always his usual stellar self against the Clippers as his 20.9 points per game average against them is his third-lowest against any team. L.A. has won three in a row overall against Dallas for the first time since the late 1990s. The Mavericks have won 28 of the last 34 matchups with the Clippers in Dallas, however. L.A. is the better team, but the Mavs likely will play with more urgency. I’d argue that if they lose this game their chances of ever getting to .500 are very slim. Take Dallas and the over.
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