Six days ago, the New York Knicks (2-9; 5-6 ATS) defeated the Dallas Mavericks (6-4; 4-6 ATS) 106-102 as 11-point road dogs. The Knicks escaped with a victory mostly thank to a terrific shooting from beyond the arc but will need more than that to pull off another upset when Kristaps Porzingis and Mavericks come to town Thursday night. Porzingis will play his first-ever game as an enemy in the Madison Square Garden, so don’t miss the clash between Dallas and New York.
The Mavs are coming in full strength. The Knicks are missing Elfrid Payton (hamstring) and Reggie Bullock (neck), while Mitchell Robinson (concussion) is questionable.
Dallas opened as a 7-point fave with the total at 216.5 points. The Mavs were 11-point favorites with a total of 215.5 points in their last week’s duel with the Knicks. Seven of the last eight encounters between these two teams went in the under. The Mavericks are 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last ten meetings with the Knicks including a 114-90 victory as 7-point favorites in their previous visit to Madison Square Garden.
What’s at Stake?
Considering Kristaps Porzingis’ trade, each team will have own reasons to put on a strong performance. The Knicks fans will demand another win over Porzingis, but this time in New York. The Mavericks have to win the games like this one to continue with their playoff campaign.
Dallas is coming off a 116-106 loss at Boston this past Monday, two days after the Mavs thrashed off Memphis 138-122 in Tennessee. Porzingis shot 1-of-11 from the field and had four points, so the Mavs didn’t stand a chance against red-hot Celtics even though Luka Doncic tallied 34 points and nine assists. On the other side, the Knicks are coming off a 120-102 loss at Chicago on Tuesday. The game was tied at the start of the fourth quarter which tells you a lot about the Knicks’ display in the crunch time. New York’s last four losses came by 18 or more points.
The Knicks hit 14 of their 28 attempts from deep in that 106-102 win over the Mavs in Texas. Interestingly, the Knicks missed 13 free throws and scored paltry 28 points in the paint. Neither team had a good shooting night in general, as the Knicks made 41.6% of their field goals and the Mavs were slightly worse at 41.1%. The Knicks had one assist more than their rivals (19-18), but they won the battle on the glass (56-47) while grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
Marcus Morris and Julius Randle led the Knicks, combining for 50 points and 17 rebounds, but Frank Ntilikina was an X-factor with four triples out of five attempts, six boards, four assists, and four steals. Luka Doncic posted a monstrous triple-double of 38 points, 14 boards, and 10 dimes, while Kristaps Porzingis added 28 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks, but it wasn’t enough for the Mavericks to win the battle. The other three members of their starting five combined for six points and an assist.
Both New York and Dallas struggle on the defensive end. The Knicks allow 111.0 points per 100 possessions (23rd in the NBA), while the Mavs are slightly better with 110.5 points allowed (21st). On the other side of the ball, the Knicks’ offensive rating is the worst in the league (100.1), while the Mavs’ offensive rating is the best in the NBA (113.5).
Considering these stats, the Knicks display at American Airlines Center in Dallas was a good one. We cannot say the same for the Mavericks who need to provide more help for Luka Doncic. If Mitchell Robinson stays sidelined, the Knicks’ frontcourt will be thin, especially on the defensive end. It means that Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber need to step up for Dallas.
I suggest you take the alternative line on the Mavericks, as a 7-point spread could be a tricky one to cover away from home. I like the Mavs’ spot, so I would be a couple of points and take them as 4.5-point favorites. If you are a serious playoff contender, you cannot allow one of the worst teams in the league to beat you twice in six days. Besides Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, all other Mavs players underperformed in that narrow loss last week. I expect to see a much better team effort in this one.
Doncic should continue with his dominant performance. Porzingis had a terrible shooting night in Boston and will be fired up to bounce back against his former team. I would rather take Luka or Kristaps in the over on their point totals instead of betting on the game totals. Considering the Knicks’ awkward offense, the line seems high at 216.5 points. However, the Mavs’ defense is vulnerable, and if the Knicks have a solid shooting night, the clash could easily go in the over.