- The New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks matchup on Monday night
- Mavericks big Maxi Kleber is in quarantine – it’s unclear which players Dallas will have available
- Get the latest odds, betting preview and a pick below
The Dallas Mavericks face the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. Dallas is 5-4, facing a Pelicans team which was been up and down so far this term, sitting at 4-5. The Mavericks also have a boost on the way – Kristaps Porzingis will play for the first time this season.
Despite uncertainty over which Mavericks will be available to play, Dallas are 3.5-point favorites. Steven Adams is listed as questionable for the Pels.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Dallas Mavericks Odds
|New Orleans Pelicans||+3.5 (-110)||+136||Over 218.5 (-110)|
|Dallas Mavericks||-3.5 (-110)||-162||Under 218.5 (-110)|
Odds taken on Jan 11 from FanDuel
Pels Still Searching
Stan Van Gundy has quickly instilled a defensive mindset. The Pels spent much of last season in the bottom third by defensive rating (though they wrapped the year up in 19th). It has been a different story this season – New Orleans is fifth in the league in defensive rating. That’s despite Zion Williamson’s efforts on the defensive end, which are inconsistent at best.
Van Gundy has his team protecting the rim (they are sixth in percentage of opponent shots at the cup). They are giving up a lot of corner threes, which is usually a concern, but they are selective with who they are allowing to shoot from deep. Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Ingram have done a good job of contesting shots, too. Ingram has taken a significant step forward as a defender this term.
Where the defense is strong, the offense is scrappy. Despite a roster which clearly needs transition opportunities, the Pels are 24th in pace. Space is a rare commodity with defenses sagging off Ball and Bledsoe on the perimeter. Only the rebuilding Pistons, depleted Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers have been less efficient in the half court (per Cleaning The Glass’ points per play).
Ranking fourth in offensive rebounding rate in the half court is an important part of the Pelicans’ offense. Steven Adams sitting out this one would be a big loss in that regard.
Kristaps Porzingis was the star of Dallas’ last game with New Orleans, recording 34 points. With him planning to play, he is now a factor to consider for bettors. Dallas is without Maxi Kleber, Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith through quarantine.
Second-highest scorer Tim Hardaway is available, and Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein can marshal the front court even if Porzingis sits. This is a great time for the former Knick to return, however, as Luka Doncic’s already heavy offensive workload has become greater still. The Slovenian phenom has three triple-doubles in his last four games, and was one rebound shy in his 38-point, 13-assist masterpiece against Denver.
While the firepower of Porzingis is a welcome addition for the Mavs, his presence as a rebounder and extra big body to throw at Williamson would be helpful, too. Losing Kleber and Finney-Smith leaves a big question mark next to the Zion question. James Johnson, Cauley-Stein and Powell are all likely to get reps against the 2019 first overall pick.
Absences Hurt Mavs
It’s a surprise to see Dallas favored for this one. There’s no guarantee Porzingis plays, and they are without several key rotation players. A massive night from Doncic is always possible, but this Pelicans defense is going to be one of his sternest tests of the young season.
The Mavericks’ defense has taken a leap this season. Richardson and Finney-Smith are their two best perimeter stoppers – without them, they have no obvious option to put on Ingram. The former Laker has picked up where he left off last season, averaging 24 per game.
New Orleans to cover the spread is good value even if Porzingis starts.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans +3.5 (-110)
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