Game: Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Heat -2, Mavericks +2
With all the focus on Milwaukee and Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat have quietly gone 5-1 in their first six games. They are riding a four-game winning streak and head to Dallas tonight to take on the Mavericks who have been equally impressive with a 4-2 start to their 2021 season.
The Heat have been doing it with defense, arguably the best in the NBA right now. Miami allows a ridiculous 97 points per game so far this season. The Heat allowed 99 or fewer in three straight wins before giving up 103 to Memphis in a 129-103 win over the Grizzlies on Saturday. That represents the most points given up by the Heat so far this season.
Miami beat Memphis without one of its best players, Bam Adebayo. He is listed as questionable for tonight and head coach Erik Spoelstra would love to have him in the lineup. Adebayo averages 20 points and 14 rebounds per game. If he cannot go, the Heat will continue to rely on Tyler Herro who is scoring 22 points per game and is also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
Dallas has won three of its last four games and has also had to play without one of its stars. Kristaps Porzingis missed his third game in a row when the Mavs beat the Kings 105-99 on Sunday. Porzingis is listed as questionable for tonight. Luka Doncic, of course, is the guy that Dallas leans on as they did against Sacramento. Doncic had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in the win. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 16, but the Mavs have had trouble scoring.
The Mavericks are averaging just 98.3 points per game, which ranks 28th in the league. Only Oklahoma City and Detroit score fewer points. Part of the problem is long-range shooting. Dallas is shooting 31.2 percent from behind the three-point line. That ranks 25th in the league.
It appears the Mavs will also be without Maxi Kleber which makes the Dallas frontcourt pretty thin. If Adebayo plays for Miami, the Heat will have an advantage up front. Miami has had plenty of advantages over the Mavericks in previous meetings. In fact, the Heat have beaten Dallas in 16 of the 20 meetings, including seven of the last ten.
Miami is 5-1 ATS this season too and Dallas has struggled to cover. The Mavs are just 2-4 ATS this season and just 2-8 ATS in their last ten games against Miami.
Tonight’s total of 211 is reflective of both Miami’s defense and Dallas’s inability to score. The Heat hold opponents to 39 percent shooting from the field and 30.2 percent from behind the arc. Dallas only gives up 103 points a game, which is sixth in the league. The Under is 4-1 in Miami games and a perfect 6-for-6 in Dallas games this season. The total has gone Under in each of the last five Mavs home games.