The Dallas Mavericks continue to play like a young team that is trying to find its identity. They surprised a lot of teams early in the season but have now settled into a pattern of winning a couple, then losing a couple. They also seem to be having difficulty finding player rotations that work well together, which could result in a player like Dennis Smith Jr. being traded. After going 5-7 in its last 12 games, it doesn’t look like this team is ready to make a run to sneak into the playoffs. What the team does have to look forward to is building its team around the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year in Luca Doncic (20.3 PPG and 6.7 RPG. Oh, he is only 19 years old.
An interesting trend has developed for the Indiana Pacers. Over the last 6 weeks or so, the team has struggled to beat playoff caliber teams while having no problem getting past teams in the bottom half of the league. That’s a clear indication this team isn’t quite ready for prime time. It’s further interesting to see the Pacers ranked 2nd in the NBA in shooting with a FG percentage of 48.1%, yet only able to score 109 PPG (21st in the league). Sure, it’s a pace-of-play issue but there’s a sense this team doesn’t have enough firepower and might need to make a move to get a scorer. It doesn’t help that G Victor Oladipo’s numbers (19.3 PPG) are down this season across the board.
Prediction: This Pacers offense has been struggling of late on offense. If the defense only plays to par, this should be a reasonably low scoring affair, making the o/u line a little too high. Play under 214.5 (score – Indiana 106 -99)