Houston Rockets vs Dallas Mavericks

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The Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets mix it up on the court Saturday night at 9 pm EST at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Currently, the line favors the Mavericks by 10.5-points while the total sits at 222.5-points.

Houston enters this contest on a downward slide in dropping 3-straight after falling at home to the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night as the Suns received yet another solid performance from their stars Devin Booker along with Deandre Ayton. And while the Rockets connected on 10 3-pointers while boasting 3 20+ point scorers in Eric Gordon, Victory Oladipo, along with Christian Wood, the team shot a dismal 42% as a team while committing entirely too many turnovers in the loss. Houston also failed to cover as 5.5-point underdogs in the contest bringing their record to 1-5 ATS in their last 6, overall.

The Mavericks also enter this contest on a downward trend as they have been defeated in 3 of their last 4 contests. However, in their last matchup versus the Indiana Pacers on the road, Dallas exploded for 37 points in the 1st period while holding off the Pacers for the remainder of the contest to pick up their 7th win of the year. And while Luca Doncic struggled in the contest, Kristaps Porzingis posted 27 points while pulling down 13 boards in the win while reserve Trey Burke finished with 22 points while accounting for 4 of the team’s 8 3-pointers. The Mavericks were able to halt a 2-game skid against the number as they covered as 2.5-points versus the Pacers (6-2 ATS in last 8).

The Rockets have picked up wins in 6 of 10 versus Dallas, including in 3 of 4 at the American Airlines Center. However, Dallas has dominated against the spread during this time in racking up a record of 7-3, including in 2 of the last 3 at home.

Wall and Wood out for this contest; Tucker probable

John Wall (19 ppg, 5 rebs, blk) has yet to return to the lineup due to a knee injury while Wood (24 ppg, 11 rebs, 2 blks) has been declared out for this contest with an ankle injury. To make matters worse for the Rockets, forward PJ Tucker has been hampered the past few games with an abdominal injury, yet is schedule to suit up. And while the forward is hitting over 44% of his shots from deep this season, he has struggled with consistency often in posting double-figures in only 3 of the last 10 for the Rockets. In all, the offense for Houston has struggled as of late due to injury as the team is putting up an average of just 103 points in their last 5 games.

However, Oladipo (21 ppg, 6 rebs) and Gordon (16 ppg) have done their best to keep the team competitive as the former, despite having 9 turnovers in 2 games since coming over from the Indiana Pacers, has put up an average of 27 points per game, 5 rebounds, along with 8 assists during this time. Gordon, since coming back from injury, has also shined posting over 20 points since being re-inserted into the lineup. Oladipo, of course, was still with Indiana when these teams met in early January while Gordon was out win injury; Nonetheless, the Rockets struggled in the contest shooting just 39% while connecting on a dismal 11 of 40 attempts from deep.

Important to add that the Rockets not only allowed 48% shooting to Dallas in this contest, but gave up 16 treys as well, 8 of those to guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., who ended with 30 points. Finally, the Rockets were outrebounded by a margin of 51-40 in the 13-point home loss with Doncic posting 33 points along with 16 boards (11 assists).

Porzingis continues to shine after return to court

Despite playing just 5 games on the season, Porzingis has really added a lift on both ends of the court as he is averaging 20 points while pulling down 9 rebounds in addition to recording 2 double-doubles. On the other hand, the center is also averaging 2 blocks per game during this time while adding another to his stats in the Mavericks’ win over the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night. Burke along with Hardaway, Jr. continued their hot shooting from the floor as well accounting for 7 of the team’s 8 3-pointers while finishing with 22 and 19 points, respectively. Furthermore, point guard Jalen Brunson (12 ppg) has been a special surprise for the Mavericks this season connecting on 50% of his shots from the floor (36% from long-range) while posting 19 points in the victory.

And while Doncic struggled in scoring just 13 points, the Mavericks were able to rely on a balanced scoring night with 5 double-digit scorers as they posted 120+ points for the 1st time in over 2 weeks. This matchup could certainly be a game where Doncic can come out of atone for a mini-slump (14 ppg in last 2 outings) as Houston has had no answers for the forward in recent matchups. Adding Hardaway, Jr., Burke, along with a healthy Porzingis to the mix, and the home team will certainly enter this contest with confidence.

Dallas is ranked as one of the better defensive teams in the league ranking in the top-10 in every major defensive category. However, it should be noted that the Rockets have posted an average of 127 points in their last 4 versus their division foe, including destroying them for 153 points in their last visit to the American Airlines Center July of last year.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
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Wall has been downgraded from questionable to out indefinitely with knee soreness, which means that the Rockets will be shorthanded for the foreseeable future.  Dallas, on the other hand, enters this contest with a lineup that is playing great along with one of the more skilled players in Doncic (seeking to atone for a less than stellar performance in their last outing), sharpshooters Hardaway, Jr. along with Burke that continue to play inspired, in addition to a healthy Porzingis, who happens to be coming off one of his best performances of the year.  Combine this with the fact that Dallas has won against the spread in 4 of their last 5 meetings, and I will take the home team in this instance.

Prediction:
Dallas Mavericks -10.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
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One should expect the Mavericks to take advantage of a Houston defense that has been on a downward slide as of late.  The Rockets, if they are to somehow get back on the winning track, will have to learn to play better, more consistent defense at some point.  The problem is that they will be facing a team in Dallas that is healthy and at full-strength at this critical point in the year with their offense clicking on all cylinders.  In all, I see the over as being the play in this contest, as it has been in 3 of the last 4 matchup between these 2 squads.

Prediction:
Over 222.5