It’s been awfully difficult to sort out the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers this year, as both teams have 61 wins to show for their work through one round of the playoffs, and both needed six games to get rid of their first round foes. The two will meet in what should be an absolutely remarkable second round series in NBA playoffs betting action starting on Monday night.
#3 Dallas Mavericks (61-27 SU, 49-36-3-0 ATS)
How They Got Here: Dallas has really gotten here on the strength of Dirk Nowitzki. The argument really could be made that Dirk was the MVP of the team this year, as the Mavs would’ve had one of the best records in the league and probably would’ve been No. 1 in the West without that bad stretch of games in which he was out of the lineup. Still, some blunders at the end of the regular season took the Mavericks from No. 2 to No. 3, and they were lucky not to fall down to No. 4. A first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers took six games, but it probably should’ve been a heck of a lot shorter.
Player to Watch: Tyson Chandler is really going to have his work cut out for him in this series, and it is very clear that he is — at bare minimum — going to have to hold his own against the trees in purple and gold. Chandler averaged just about a double-double per game against a Portland team that is awfully similar in terms of athleticism on the inside. He shot 65.4 percent from the field in the series and needs to be a beast in the blocks for Dallas to win this series.
The Mavericks Can Win This Series If…: Nowitzki shakes this whole mentality of not winning the big one. Dallas has never won it all, and a lot of it really comes down to the play of the German national star. We know that Nowitzki will get his points and will get his rebounds, but the question is whether he can get over that hump and take down the biggest challenge in his way to the big one this year.
#2 Los Angeles Lakers (61-27 SU, 42-45-1 ATS)
How They Got Here: Kobe Bryant and company did lose a bunch of games this year that they probably had no business losing, especially here at Staples Center, and that was shown even more so in the first game of the postseason against the New Orleans Hornets. Still, LA really did a nice job of taking care of the Hornets when push came to shove, and regardless whether anyone likes it or not, this is the two time defending champ, and it now is a team that has home court advantage at least into the NBA Finals.
Player to Watch: Sure, it’s Kobe’s ball when all of the marbles are in the middle of the table, but the man that needs to step up to win this series is Pau Gasol. Bryant called out the Spaniard after the Game 1 loss to New Orleans, and for good reason. After all, Gasol only scored eight points and had six boards in that game. In Game 2, things weren’t an better with eight points and five rebounds. He finally woke up after that and had at least 16 points in all four games. However, he never eclipsed his scoring average of 18.8 points per game in the regular season. Against a team of a lot more bigs and a lot more athleticism than New Orleans, Gasol is the man that really needs to come to the table.
The Lakers Can Win This Series If…: The switch has really been flipped. After all, the Lakers sort of sleepwalked through the end of the regular season and even had a rather lengthy losing streak in the mix as well, and they really didn’t play all that well in the series victory against New Orleans. Games 5 and 6 looked a lot more like typical LA ball, and if that was really what changed things for the purple and gold, they’ll be fine.
Analyzing the NBA Series Odds: The bottom line here: Kobe and the Lakers just find ways to win. Dirk and the Mavs always find a way to bow out of the playoffs. That’s going to be the story once again, as the faithful in Big D is going to have to watch as their team gets bounced out of the second season once again. Lakers in 6
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.