NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (23-33)
at DALLAS MAVERICKS (35-23)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Dallas -7.5, Total: 204.5
The Mavericks attempt to complete a season sweep of the Pelicans when the division foes collide on Wednesday night.
New Orleans is embarking on a tough five-game road trip that begins with three straight games among the top eight teams in the Western Conference. This does not bode well for the young group as the Pelicans enter the trip with a four-game losing skid and six defeats in their past seven contests (1-4-2 ATS). Their defense allowed the Clippers to shoot 52% FG on Monday en route to a 123-110 loss as 4.5-point underdogs. The Mavericks on the other hand, have been rolling with nine wins in their past 11 games (6-5 ATS), including a 110-108 victory in New York on Monday when PF Dirk Nowitzki hit a game-winning shot with time expiring. The Pelicans have been very poor on the road this season with a 10-19 SU record (11-15-3 ATS) and will run into a Mavericks team that is an impressive 18-9 SU at home, but only 12-15 ATS. While Dallas has won the first three games of this season series so far, New Orleans was able to cover the spread in the most recent meeting on Jan. 11 in Dallas, losing 110-107 as an 8-point underdog. The Mavericks have been amazing from long range against the Pelicans this season, going 36-for-79 (46%) from behind the arc. Going back three seasons, Dallas is 8-2 SU (6-4 ATS) in this matchup and is a dominant 23-4 SU (17-9-1 ATS) when hosting New Orleans since 1996. Bettors have profited nicely when the Pelicans are coming off a double-digit loss over the past two seasons, as they are 25-14 ATS (64%) in those situations. The Mavericks are an impressive 18-3 ATS (86%) after four straight games where both teams scored 100+ points since 1996. As far as injuries are concerned, New Orleans will be the only team suffering in this game as it will be without PG Jrue Holiday (leg) and PF Ryan Anderson (back) who are out indefinitely.
Can the Mavericks finish the season sweep of the Pelicans on Wednesday? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five StatFox experts have been heating up in NBA Best Bets recently with a 58% ATS record (33-24-1) since Feb. 10. StatFox Dave has a stellar 60% ATS (37-25-1) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 55% ATS (47-39-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 59% ATS mark (34-24-3) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (45-38-3) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Brian is really catching fire, going 70% ATS (16-7-1) since Jan. 25 and 60% ATS (31-21-1) in Best Bets since Dec. 12.
While the Pelicans have some great young talent on their team, they have not been able to translate it to wins, scoring just 99.3 PPG (12th-worst in the NBA) this season despite strong shooting clips of 45.5% FG (11th in league) and 38.4% threes (2nd in NBA). Their 110 points in Monday's loss was their first game of reaching that 110-point plateau since New Year's Day, as they have averaged only 95.4 PPG in the 2014 calendar year. New Orleans is a mediocre defensive team (101.2 PPG allowed, 15th in NBA), but still leads the league in blocked shots with 6.4 BPG. PF Anthony Davis (20.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.0 BPG) has 26 points and 11 rebounds in each of his past two games and has put together four straight double-doubles (21.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG). He has been dominant against Dallas in two meetings this season, posting 24.5 PPG (53% FG), 13.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG. SG Eric Gordon (15.7 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 SPG) has not reached 15 points in any of his past three games and played only 23 minutes on Monday against the Clippers. He has averaged 16.6 PPG (39% FG) and 3.3 APG over 16 career meetings with the Mavericks, numbers that have been boosted by his 20.7 PPG (54% FG, 7-of-14 threes) in the three defeats this season. SF Tyreke Evans (12.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.4 APG) has given the team great energy off the bench this season, but has averaged only 7.0 PPG on 27% FG during the four-game losing skid. Evans has shot 1-for-11 from the floor in the two games against Dallas so far this season, but has averaged a solid 17.4 PPG (48% FG) over 14 career games (11 starts) against his Wednesday opponent.
The Mavericks have turned around their season over the past month and have their offense to thank for much of their success with 104.5 PPG (7th in NBA) on the season. They have netted 100+ points in 12 of their past 14 games, averaging 107.6 PPG on 48.1% FG (37.6% threes) during this offensive surge. Their defense has not been nearly as polished though, allowing 102.3 PPG this season (7th-worst in league) and 105.2 PPG on 48.1% FG over 12 divisional games. Monday's hero PF Dirk Nowitzki (21.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG) has scored a hefty 28.3 PPG (48% FG, 10-of-20 threes) with 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.3 SPG in three games against the Pelicans this season, and is now averaging 22.6 PPG (48% FG, 42% threes), 7.3 RPG and 1.1 SPG in 47 career games against New Orleans. SG Monta Ellis (18.9 PPG, 5.8 APG, 1.8 SPG) has seen his scoring average decline in each successive month this season, and is averaging only 16.5 PPG on 43% FG in February. His 19.8 PPG (48% FG), 5.2 APG and 1.6 SPG in 21 career games against the Pelicans bodes well for Dallas in this matchup, as Ellis has been a big reason his club is on the verge of a season sweep with 21.0 PPG (48% FG), 7.3 APG, 4.3 RPG and 2.0 SPG in the three meetings this season. SG Vince Carter (11.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG) scored 23 points (7-of-12 threes) in Monday's win over the Knicks, and has averaged 15.8 PPG (46% threes) over his past four games. Carter has scored an impressive 20.8 PPG (47% FG) over 42 career games (33 starts) against New Orleans, and has averaged 13.0 PPG on 50% FG (7-of-14 threes) while coming off the bench in three games against them this season.