DALLAS MAVERICKS (13-22)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (27-8)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -10, Total: 200.5
The Mavericks are looking to get on track with a win over the West’s top seeded Clippers on Wednesday night.
Dallas is 2-12 SU (5-8-1 ATS) since Dec. 12, losing its past three contests. But PF Dirk Nowitzki is starting to find his groove, averaging 19.7 PPG (47% FG) during this losing skid, a huge jump from the 8.2 PPG (39% FG) he scored in his first five games back from injury. The Clippers are 19-2 SU (14-7 ATS) in their past 21 games, including two straight wins (SU and ATS) on this current four-game homestand. Dallas is 16-4 SU in the past 20 meetings between these teams, but L.A. has won three of the past four matchups (SU and ATS), beating the Mavs 112-90 in the lone meeting this season on Dec. 5.
Will the Clippers be able to cover this massive spread? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have posted a strong 53.3% ATS (56-49-1) mark since Dec. 22. StatFox Brian is 16-8 ATS (67%) since Dec. 23, while StatFox Scott is 11-5 ATS (69%) since Dec. 29, giving him a season Best Bets mark of 56% ATS (49-39), with Brian (55% ATS) and StatFox Gary (51% ATS) also profitable. The four experts are collectively 52% ATS (210-198-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, the experts are an excellent 31-23 (57.4%) since Dec. 28 with StatFox Brian going 11-6 (65%) during this span. Scott continues to have a great year at 51-36 (59%) for his season NBA totals.
Since Nowitzki rejoined the starting lineup, he has back-to-back, 20-point games, making 14-of-30 shots (47%) and 4-of-8 threes. He also dished out five assists in Monday's loss at Utah. Nowitzki has usually played very well against L.A. in his career (21.0 PPG, 47% FG, 7.4 RPG), but he was held to 19.3 PPG on 38% FG in three meetings last season. In order for the Mavericks to get back on track, they’ll need SG O.J. Mayo to be able to play as a second scoring option. Mayo is averaging 18.3 PPG this season and was thriving as a number one option, but since Nowitzki has been inserted back into the starting lineup, Mayo has just 13.5 PPG on 10-of-31 FG (32%), including 2-of-15 threes. Mayo also shot poorly against L.A. this year, going 4-for-12 FG (0-for-4 threes) in the Dec. 5 loss. C Chris Kaman (13.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG) will also have to play better for the Mavericks, reaching 15 points just once in the past 10 games. Kaman and Nowitzki are teammates on the German national team and their chemistry will be vital for Dallas’ success moving forward.
The Clippers’ 17-game winning streak may have ended just a week ago, but they are looking to start another long run with a win over the Mavs. The Clippers have won two straight with great offense, shooting 50% FG in a 107-102 win over the cross-town rival Lakers, then making 52% FG in a 115-89 romp over Golden State. PG Chris Paul has been absolutely dominant over the past two games, averaging 28.5 PPG and 11.0 APG in those contests. He had nine assists and zero turnovers, while shooting 10-of-12 from the field against the Warriors and is shooting 53% over his past five games. PF Blake Griffin has also played well over the past two games, averaging 22.0 PPG on 61% FG in those contests. The Clippers’ bench has been superb, and they are finally starting to see traces of the old Lamar Odom, who has contributed in numerous areas in four games since the start of January, shooting 48% FG with 6.5 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.5 BPG in those contests. Odom was shooting 36% FG (5-of-38 threes) before this four-game surge. The Clippers may be without star sixth man, SG Jamal Crawford (16.5 PPG), who has missed the past two games with an injured foot, and is considered questionable for Wednesday.