With everything the Brooklyn Nets (35-33) have been through this season, it’s remarkable they are only 9.5 games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference and are eighth.
They’ve played star swap and had another star out for all home games due to COVID-19 restrictions. The third star, Kevin Durant, has also battled injuries.
Those persist as they entertain the Dallas Mavericks (42-26), who are fifth in the Western Conference and five games behind the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and LaMarcus Aldridge are all out, as expected, for Brooklyn, which has several other players questionable. Reggie Bullock (personal) is among those out who haven’t been out for an extended period of time.
The line opened at Dallas -2 with an over/under of 225.5, where it sticks as of this writing.
Brooklyn Nets Betting Preview: Playmaking Durant
Durant is an all-league-caliber player and has to play like one at home if the Nets are going to have a chance. He is averaging 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game this season. He’ll be in charge of the league’s 10th-best offense, scoring 111.9 points per game.
The Nets are fifth in terms of efficiency, converting at 47.1% of attempts. They are also sixth in free-throw percentage at 79.9%. Defensively they are seventh in 3-point field goal percentage, forcing teams to convert 34.1% of attempts.
Andre Drummond has seen an offensive boost since the trade, starting all 11 games but only a slight minutes increase. Yet he’s averaging 10.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game since coming over.
Dallas Mavericks Betting Preview: Play within yourselves
The Mavericks have been the best defensive team in the league this season under first-year coach Jason Kidd. They give up 103.5 points per game, and they’re second in 3-point percentage allowed, forcing teams to convert 33.5%.
Since trading Kristaps Porzingis to Washington for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, Dinwiddie has entered the starting lineup. It also opens up the floor for superstar Luka Doncic, who is averaging 28.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game this season. Dinwiddie is shooting 44.2% from 3-point range and is averaging 17.5 points per game in 11 contests since being acquired by Dallas.
Jalen Brunson has taken a step and is averaging 16.0 points and 5.2 assists per game playing alongside Doncic in the starting rotation. Perhaps a guard-heavy focus is more predictable under Kidd.
Perhaps Dallas has surprised the oddsmakers this year because it is 38-29-1 against the spread, though 23-44-1 as a result of its top-ranked defense. The Mavericks are an impressive 19-14 on the road, too.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn has reverse splits due to the status of Irving away from home. The Nets are 27-39-2 against the spread, 34-33-1 on over/unders, and 14-18 at home.
Brooklyn has developed some depth while also adding Goran Dragic, who will see a usage bump in Irving’s absence. They should be a little better at home and may win outright. The Nets +2 is our pick.
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