DALLAS MAVERICKS (8-10)
at PHOENIX SUNS (7-12)
Tip-off: Thursday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Phoenix -3.5, Total: 202.5
The Suns and the Mavericks are both looking to get on track with a win on Thursday night.
Both Phoenix and Dallas enter this game having lost four out of the past five games and with the Suns more notably on a four-game losing skid. The Mavericks, however, have absolutely dominated Phoenix recently, going 7-1 ATS against them over the past three seasons.
Can the Clippers stay hot and cover this lofty spread? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts continue to stay sizzling on NBA Best Bets since Nov. 26, going a collective 38-22 ATS (63%) with StatFox Gary going 8-2 ATS. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is 33-15 (69%) on NBA Totals for the season, while Gary is a tremendous 12-4 in Totals since Nov. 24. For Best Bets, the experts are a collective 111-94-8 ATS (54.4%) this year led by StatFox Gary who sits at 66% ATS (19-10-2).
The Mavericks have struggled as of late, getting blown out 112-90 on Wednesday night to the Clippers, but that will happen when playing without their superstar, Dirk Nowitzki. They’ve needed different guys to step up at different times and the guy who is used to doing it, O.J. Mayo, is struggling to find his shot over the past five games, averaging just 13.2 PPG on 37% FG compared to his seasonal averages of 19.7 PPG on 47% FG. Darren Collison (12.1 PPG, 6.1 APG) is also playing shooting horribly in his past four games, scoring just 6.8 PPG on 32% FG. Accordingly, his minutes have been cut to 24.8 MPG over this stretch, far below the 31.5 MPG he has this season. Somebody needs to step up and be a difference maker in Dallas. PG Derek Fisher was the only Dallas player with a positive rating against L.A., posting a +2 with his 15 points. Vince Carter led the team with 16 points (6-for-12 FG) and also pulled down seven rebounds, but posted a minus-13 rating versus the Clips.
All season long, the Suns have struggled to find consistency within their starting lineup. Goran Dragic has been Phoenix’s most effective player this season, averaging 15.5 PPG, 6.6 APG and 1.9 SPG on the year. Outside of Dragic though, the Suns will need somebody to step it up and be their long-term second option. Four Phoenix players are averaging between 11.5 PPG and 12.7 PPG this year. C Marcin Gortat should be that guy, but he has been underperforming, likely due to the departure of Steve Nash. Gortat has been better recently though with 14.3 PPG on 68% FG in the past three games. Michael Beasley (11.5 PPG) is averaging only 8.8 PPG and 2.8 RPG over the past five games. He is the player that Phoenix team officials thought could be their main scoring option, but he is only shooting 38% FG (well below 45% FG for career). He has been a huge disappointed and is now getting only 27.8 MPG on the year.