New Orleans Hornets (46-35 SU, 39-40-2 ATS) vs. Dallas Mavericks (56-25 SU, 43-26-2 ATS)
NBA Betting Favorite: Mavericks -9.5
This is the final regular season game for both of these teams. New Orleans is currently in the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but they do have a chance to move up to the seventh spot overall. Dallas is currently in the second spot overall, but they could be overtaken by the Lakers if they lose this game. Both teams are solidly in the playoffs, but both have plenty to play for as well.
The Hornets are without star power forward David West. West has a torn ACL and will not be available until at least the beginning of next season. In the absence of West, other guys have had to step up for New Orleans. Carl Landry is doing a solid job filling in at the power forward position. Chris Paul is the floor leader, and he is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Emeka Okafor has had a strong season this year as well. Okafor is averaging 10.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He also blocks almost two shots per game. It has been the Hornets defense that has helped them stay competitive this year. New Orleans allows just 93.7 points per game.
The Dallas Mavericks have been a feast or famine team this year. Dallas has had some of the most impressive hot streaks in the NBA this year, but they have also had several surprising slumps. Dirk Nowitzki is having his best season as a pro, and he will definitely get some votes in the MVP race this year. Nowitzki is shooting 52% from the floor for the season. He creates a mismatch every time he steps on the floor because of his amazing shooting ability. No other 7 footer in the league can shoot 89% from the line and 39% from beyond the arc. Tyson Chandler was a solid offseason pickup, and he is the Mavericks shot blocker down low. Shawn Marion is shooting 52% from the floor, and he is also the team’s best defender. Dallas has plenty of pieces to make a run, but can they stay consistent through a series?
Dallas picked up a huge victory in Houston on Monday night, and I think they’ll win this one as well, but I’m surprised to see them favored by so much. I think the Hornets will stay within nine points here.
NBA Free Pick: Hornets +9.5
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