Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks look to get back on track when they visit Kyrie Irving and the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Saturday, February 27, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at Barclays Center
The Nets opened as 3.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at -5. This leaves a 1.5-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. We need at least two points between the projections and the lines before we lay any serious wood, but the Nets ATS is worth a look. FiveThirtyEight gives the Nets a 69 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -223.
USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Nets at -4.15 using his Rating numbers, and at -10.37 using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the Nets -3.5 at BetMGM.
Mavs Fall in Philadelphia
Bad weather in Texas forced the Mavs to postpone their games last week. Despite their 121-118 home loss against the Trail Blazers on February 14th, the Mavs were playing much better. It hasn’t been as efficient or as consistent as they would have liked but it also came together in the recent home wins against the Grizzlies and Celtics.
How far can these team go this season depends on how much they can improve defensively. Dallas ranks 23rd in the league, allowing 113.5 points per game and 26th in defensive rating. The Mavericks are coming off a 111-97 road loss against the 76ers on Thursday. Luka Doncic had a relatively quiet night but he still led the team with 19 points and four assists and Josh Richardson added 13 points and six rebounds, though he missed his four attempts from distance. The Mavs outrebounded the 76ers 50-39 but their 18 turnovers were extremely costly. Missing 21 3-pointers also didn’t help.
Nets Win Eighth Straight Game
The Nets beat the Magic 129-92 at home on Thursday for their eighth straight victory. The scary part is that they also took care of the Suns, Lakers, Clippers and the Kings two times, without Kevin Durant (plus-5.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus). KD has been out with a strained hamstring and he will be out until after the All-Star break.
Jeff Green, on the other hand, is listed as day-to-day. Green suffered a right shoulder contusion on Sunday’s 112-108 road win against the Clippers. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (minus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and Bruce Brown (minus-0.9 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) should see increased playing time if Green can’t play on Saturday.
Durant has been out but the Nets still proved how dangerous they are. James Harden and Kyrie Irving have been phenomenal as of late and Bruce Brown and Joe Harris also stepped up against the Magic, scoring 14 points apiece. Harris was 4-for-6 from 3-point range and he’s shooting 54.8 percent from beyond the arc in his last 10 games. This team is unstoppable when two of their role players have big games and this was all without KD.
Brooklyn’s defense in a way, is their offense. We saw that against the Magic, the Nets can match anyone’s firepower and Orlando missed crucial shots. The Nets defend in the moments that matter. The pace that they play with, the tempo that they play with, that high-octane, run you out of the gym style let’s them hijack the momentum of the game, so the team that’s playing against them ends up not defending either, because that becomes the new nature of the game. It’s a do or die pace the Nets put teams on.
Sometimes it backfires on them on nights they don’t take their opponent seriously, like what happened on their 149-146 overtime home loss against the Wizards on January 31st. You also saw that in the two games they lost against the Cavaliers in January. That’s my only concern with this team moving forward but they’re clicking now that they’ve spent more time together on the court with Harden. The play I like is the Under, Dallas isn’t playing good defense but this is a very high total, even for a Nets game.
NBA Pick: Under 238.5 (-106) at SBK