Two teams battling for the second seed in the Western Conference playoff race meet on Thursday at the Staples Center, as the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers (53-20) host the Dallas Mavericks (53-21) with just two weeks remaining in the regular season. The Lakers (-6) have dropped two of the last three meetings with the Mavericks, and both teams still have an outside chance of catching San Antonio for the best record in the league.
The Spurs are mired in a season-high four-game losing streak pending the outcome of their matchup with Boston earlier in the evening. The Lakers are an NBA-best 15-1 since the All-Star break and have continued to narrow the gap with San Antonio in an effort to seize homecourt advantage when they defend their championship. Despite the hot streak, LA has failed to cover the spread in four of the last five games with the OVER cashing three times after the total went UNDER in seven of the previous eight.
The team won 96-91 at Dallas to start a seven-game winning streak on March 12 after losing the previous two meetings by an average of seven points. The Mavs would lose a potential tiebreaker for the second seed with the Lakers, who have the edge as a division winner.
Regardless of what happens, Dallas should finish no worse than third in the West after winning 50 games for the 11th season in a row. The Mavericks are riding a five-game winning streak – going 4-1 against the spread – and the UNDER has cashed in five of their past six. The last three wins are part of a five-game road trip that ends with stops in Oakland and Portland.
Dallas topped the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday 106-100 at Staples behind 24 points from Dirk Nowitzki while J.J. Barea added 22 off the bench. The Mavs had scored less than 95 points in each of their previous two games, and scoring at least 100 against the Lakers could be the key to deciding which team emerges with a victory. The winner between the two has totaled 100 points or more in eight of the past 10 meetings with the OVER cashing six times.
LA is averaging nearly 118 points in its last three games after failing to reach the century mark in four of the team’s previous five games. Of course one of those recent games was a 139-137 win over Phoenix last week in triple overtime, the closest an opponent has come to beating the Lakers outside of their loss at Miami on March 10.
Top expert pick on today’s card is from Stevie Vincent. The Pro Basketball Game of the Century on the Miami Heat was almost too easy. The Great One Stevie Vincent will have baseball in mid-to-late April. While the basketball card is somewhat limited, get the NIT Championship Alabama/Wichita State game side. Click now to purchase