Arena: American Airlines Center
Home Floor: Dallas Mavericks
In this Cross-Conference affair, Luka Doncic-led Dallas Mavericks tackle the Bradley Beal-led Washington Wizards. Mavericks are three games above the 50% win record while Wizards are five games above the 50% win mark. Can Washington grind one out away from home? For quick notes, simply head over to “Notes”.Claim Your Sign-Up Bonus!
Washington Wizards: Stellar defense but struggling offense
Need more from scorers: Wizards have huge troubles scoring from the floor at times and rank among the bottom ten teams in terms of points per game every game. Beal who was averaging around 30 last year, has averaged around 23 per game this season, but that is just one of the reasons. Westbrook who averaged 20-25 points nightly was traded in the offseason while Hachimura Rui Hachimura who chipped in with around 15 has not played so far. Still, Harrell has contributed around 17 while Kuzma around 13 points. One other trend has been the shooting slump of Spencer Dinwiddie who began the season red-hot but has cooled since the first week of November. With 105.6 PPG, WIzards rank among the bottom-ten teams scoring-wise.
Defensive identity: With Kentavious Caldwell Pope in the backcourt, Washington upgraded its perimeter defense. So far, Washington is the only team that has allowed oppositions to make less than 10 threes a game and that is one of the reasons why some squads struggle to score against them. Wizards are miles ahead as a defensive unit compared to last season and it seems like the methodical defensive effort is one of the reasons for their improved performance so far. But, can they rely on defense alone?
Dallas Mavericks: Porzingis’ rise and Doncic as key
The Luka puzzle: Mavericks are 0-3 without Luka and 10-4 with him. That metric alone highlights the importance of the German wunderkid. The Guard has once again taken the league by storm and has stamped together another superstar type of season. Doncic has improved his defense and overall, he is the key to the Mavs success so far. Without Luka, the Mavericks are unable to close out games and during their losses, gave away their winning position far too often.
Porzingis is back and defense is great: Kristaps has clicked on 20 points or more in most of the games this month and it is this factor alone that Dallas makes a better team. With Porzingis giving them such production, Luka and Kristaps add up to 45-50 every night and along with Brunson and Hardaway, the offense scrapes the way out. Mavericks are a better defensive unit than last season, thanks to Dorian Finney-Smith as the defensive anchor and the team is not among the elite defensive squads but it is better than the numbers suggest.
Below are some quick hitters related to the game:
- Wizards are 5-5 away from home and even has lost a game on the road against a lowly Pelicans. They have lost four out of the last six games;
- Dallas is 6-1 at home. They have lost three out of their last four games but all those games were without Luka Doncic;
- Wizards have scored 101, 102, 103, 103, 97 in the last five games. They have not scored more than 105 in the last ten games;
- Dallas has scored 112, 91, 104, 98, 111 in the last five games. The 112 score was in OT and the three games in the middle were without Luka Doncic;
- Washington has allowed 99, 127, 109, 100, and 112 in the last five games;
- Dallas has allowed 104, 97, 112, 105, 101 in the last five games;
- Bradley Beal has scored around 23 points a game for the Wizards;
- Luka Doncic leads the Mavs in points, rebounds, and assists. He has averaged around 25 points, and 8 assists, and 8 rebounds per game;
- Kyle Kuzma averages around 9 rebounds a game;
- Thomas Bryant is on the injury list for Washington Wizards;
- Frank Ntilikina will not play for the Mavericks in this game.
Expert Betting tips
Points Range: Both teams have not put up a ton of points this season and can seal off the opposition’s offensive effort. If we take some metrics into the account, the points range (in regulation) seems to be 200-215. It is not like that the teams lack scoring but both squads have on average played more games in the range stated above.
Prediction: Dallas has been a great outfit with Luka and if he plays then they have a chance of beating most teams in the league right now. Wizards have not played well on the road. Rather than predicting the winner, the prediction for the scoreline is 106:100 or something like that.
- Spread/Handicap: WAS Wizards +7.5 for 1.90;
- Player Props: Total Player 3-Pointers Made: Luka Doncic (DAL) Over 2.5 for 1.95;
- Any Other Score: Win With Difference Less than 8 for 2.30.