Dallas Mavericks +5.5 (50-32) at San Antonio Spurs -5.5 (54-28) O/U 189 9:30 PM ET Monday April 20, 2009 on TNT
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Tonight the Mavericks travel to San Antonio to try to take a 2-0 advantage over the Spurs in their first round of the Western Conference playoffs. In game 1 the Mavs were down by 13 points in the first half, but outscored the Spurs by 12 points in the second half. The Spurs were ranked 2nd this year on defense, but did not show it last night, as the Mavs shot over 50% from the floor.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan had good scoring games, but if the Spurs are going to advance to the next round of the playoffs they need some more interior offense. Josh Howard still has a bum ankle, but he sucked it up in game 1 and was solid for the Mavs giving them a much-needed second scorer. If the Mavs win this game they will probably take the series.
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This season the Spurs were 28-13 at home and the Mavericks were 18-23 away from the Big D.
Basketball bookies have the Spurs favored by 5.5 points with a total around 189. The Spurs are posted at -200 as home favorites and the Spurs are posted at +170 as road dogs.
The Mavericks beat the Spurs in game 1 in this series 105-97. The high scorer for the Mavs was Josh Howard going for 25 points on 9/18 shooting. For the game the Mavs shot lights out going 42/78 from the floor for a FG% of 53.8%. The high scorer for the Spurs in game 1 was Tim Duncan going for 27 points on 13/24 shooting and also grabbing 9 boards. For the game the Spurs shot 38/81 for a FG% of 46.9%.
This season the Mavs ranked 9th in scoring (101.7 ppg) and the Spurs ranked 23rd (97 ppg). On defense is where the Spurs were solid, as this season they ranked 2nd in points allowed (93.3 ppg) and the Mavs ranked 15th (99.8 ppg). The Mavs had the slight edge this season on the boards, as they had a rebounding differential of +1.4 rpg and the Spurs were at +0.7 rpg.
This season the Spurs were 39-42-1 ATS and the Mavs were 40-42. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Spurs were 39-41-2 and the Mavs were 38-43-1.
On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries even though sore knees have bothered PF Tim Duncan and the Mavs SF Josh Howard has a bad ankle.
One of the main reasons the game was not a blowout for the Mavs is the fact that the Spurs were on fire from beyond the 3-point arc shooting 11/14 for a 3PT FG% of 78.6%.
The Spurs played good defense on the leading scorers of the Mavs of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry limiting them to a combined 31 points, but Howard blew up and even 3rd string PG Jose Juan Barea had 14 points.
The Spurs were hoping the bringing in of PF Drew Gooden would help them out in the playoffs, but Gooden only went for 8 points and grabbed 4 boards in game 1. The Spurs will need him to increase those numbers in game 2 tonight.
The bench of the Spurs was almost non-existent in game 1, as they scored a grand total of 14 points in the game.
The Spurs are really missing Manu Ginobili and his scoring and without him in the lineup they need to play their usual stellar defense. Allowing the Mavs to shoot over 50% from the field again will probably mean heading to Dallas down 0-2. It was the Mavs who played a better game on defense in game 1, as they had more rebounds (39-35), blocked shots (3-0), steals (5-2) and forced turnovers (9-7).
Jason Kidd has been bothered by the stomach flu, but he should go tonight. Parker played good defense on Kidd only allowing him to score 4 points, but he allowed Terry and Barea to combine for 26 points combined.
Josh Howard needs to have another big night in order to balance the scoring for the Mavs. If the Spurs play good D on Howard and Nowitski they should win this game.
The Spurs are an older and slower team, but if they can play a slow tempo game and play solid defense they should even this series tonight.
Jason’s Picks: Look for a fired up Spurs team to have a huge first half and coast to an easy cover.