Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – a man who never bites his tongue – admitted last spring that his club tanked games at the end of the season after it had been eliminated from the playoffs. Dallas doesn’t need any help losing games this season though.
The Mavs are 2-12, the league’s worst ATS bet at 3-10 and own just one cover in their last seven games. Head coach Rick Carlisle might not be the right guy to spearhead the rebuild in Dallas. He’s got a reputation for being hard on point guards, although we’ve yet to hear any grumblings from rookie Dennis Smith Jr., and he’s not playing his most talented center for some reason.
Nerlens Noel didn’t touch the floor against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday until the final two minutes of action and he received a DNP – Coach’s Decision – the game prior.
The best version of the Mavericks includes Smith and Noel running pick and roll with Harrison Barnes, Wes Matthews and another shooter spreading the floor. Expect the losses to pile up until Carlisle adjusts his lineups and rotations.
Pick: Spurs -6.5
Chris Paul is scheduled to make his return to action for the Rockets on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns meaning Tuesday’s contest against the Toronto Raptors will be the last game without CP3 in the mix.
Houston is 10-3 since Paul got injured in the first game of the season thanks to key contributions from role players and starters alike. Eric Gordon is playing the best basketball of career, Clint Capella is a blossoming big man and P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute are trusted reserves.
The Raptors are sliding a bit at the moment with just one ATS win in their last six games. The Rockets and the Raptors are No. 2 and No. 5 in offensive rating and the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two sides.
Pick: Over 219
Yesterday’s picks: 2-0
Season record: 26-28
*The under is 5-1 in the Celtics’ last six games.
*The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the Nets and Celtics.
*The under is 4-1 in Mavericks’ last five overall.
*The over is 5-2 in the Rockets’ last seven games.
Injury to Watch
Celtics point guard and leading scorer Kyrie Irving missed Sunday’s game against the Raptors and is questionable to play on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets because of concussion-like symptoms.
The Nets are also short at the point guard position. Jeremy Lin was lost for the season back in October and now D’Angelo Russell will sit out a few games to rest his ailing knee. Third-stringer Spencer Dinwiddle has played well this season but has been slowed recently by a hamstring problem.
*The Celtics are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games.
*The Raptors are 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall.
*The Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
*The Spurs are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
Close to 80 percent of Covers contest players expect the San Antonio Spurs to cover as 6.5-point road favorites tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. See the rest of today’s NBA consensus picks here.