Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are 6-point favorites over the Dallas Mavericks. The over/under for the game is set at 190 points. The last time these two teams faced each other on March 31st, Jason Terry shoved Steve Blake, players and referees got tangled up, Matt Barnes shoves a Dallas assistant coach and seven tech fouls later, a fire is lit as the Lakers scorched the Mavericks by 110-82.
Here we are, just over two months later and the Mavericks are riding back into battle after taking down the Trailblazers by 4-2 in a tightly contested series. After winning games one and two, Dallas loss game three before letting game four slip after leading by as many as 23 points. Dallas were then able to figure out the Blazers, finishing them off in games five and six and are now quietly confident about their chances of challenging the defending champs who have had a slightly easier first round and don’t look to be in top gear yet. Dirk Nowitzki was big for the Mavericks in round one, averaging 29.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in the wins and the Mavericks will definitely need those numbers from Dirk in this round.
Coming off a 4-2 first round series win of their own, the Lakers were able to take down the spirited Hornets team who were able to pinch games one and four from the LA team. Proving to be Derek Fisher’s worst nightmare, Chris Paul led the Hornets to a stunning game one victory before Phil Jackson put Kobe Bryant on Paul to limit his production. Without David West, the Hornets’ leading scorer, Paul did his best to steal two games from the Lakers but the endless number of mismatches, especially with Andrew Bynum, proved too much. Forget Kobe, Bynum was the most valuable player for the Lakers in the first round, averaging 16.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in the Lakers’ victories.
Dallas won the first meeting of the season, before LA won the last two meetings. In terms of trends, Dallas are 6-2 against the spread in the last eight meetings in Los Angeles, while the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings overall.
The Mavericks have shown their toughness with their hard fought wins over the Trailblazers and will feel well prepared for their next challenge. Nowitzki showed that he is still impossible to guard and Jason Kidd turned back the clock in his performances at home. For the Lakers, it is harder to gauge where they are, as they did lose to the Hornets a couple times, but at no point did I seriously think that they would lose the series. I definitely think that the Lakers are the better team overall here, but the Mavericks match up nicely and should certainly trouble the defending champs who have yet to hit top gear. I think this one will come down to the last few possessions so I’ll take any points I can get. I’ll take the Mavericks plus the 6.
Dallas Mavericks +6 Los Angeles Lakers