Game: Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Heat -1.5, Mavericks +1.5
The Dallas Mavericks have dropped five of their last six games and will take on the Miami Heat tonight in an effort to turn things around. The Mavs have suffered three straight losses, the most recent of which was a 130-122 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Last season, Dallas rivaled Boston when it came to defense. This year, the Mavs have fallen out of the top-10 in points allowed per game (112.3) and rank 12th. Head coach Jason Kidd knows his team’s current defensive play cannot continue. The Mavs might be able to score 120, but they also have the ability to give up 130.
Miami has won four of its last five games, including a road win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Miami beat the Pelicans 124-98. The Heat have been rolling behind Jimmy Butler, who has become the master at getting to the free throw line. On Monday, Miami suffered its only loss in its last five games, but Butler scored a game-high 34 points. He went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line.
Butler leads Miami in a number of offensive categories. He is the team’s leading scorer averaging 22 points per game. Butler also leads the team in free throw percentage (85.0%) and he averages 7.9 free throw attempts per game. The Heat star also leads the team in steals with 2.0 per game. Butler is also second on the team in rebounds (6.3) and assists (5.2).
Miami also gets quality minutes from Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Adebayo scores 21.5 points per game and leads the team with 10.1 rebounds a game. Herro averages 20.8 points per night. The Heat got point guard Kyle Lowry back in the lineup after missing four games. In Wednesday’s win, Lowry played 22 minutes and contributed seven points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Dallas star Luka Doncic was named the Western Conference’s Player of the Month for December. Doncic averaged 35.1 points, 9.3 assists, and 8.5 rebounds over 15 games in December. That is the highest-scoring month in franchise history. However, after going 11-4 in December, the Mavericks have struggled in January, winning just three of nine games.
Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered an ankle injury on January 14 and missed the next three games for the Mavericks. He is probable for tonight. Additionally, forward Maxi Kleber has been sidelined with a hamstring ailment since mid-December and Christian Wood is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.
Josh Green and Dorian Finney-Smith made their returns to the Mavs lineup on Wednesday, which is fortunate for the Mavericks. Finney-Smith scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds in 35 minutes after missing 14 games due to his injury. Green scored nine points in 20 minutes despite missing 20 games due to an elbow injury.
In addition to going 4-1 SU in their last five games, the Heat are 8-3 SU in their last 11 on the road and 15-5 SU in their last 20 against Dallas. The Mavs are 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 at home against Miami.
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