Game: Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Jazz +3, Mavericks -3
While a few of the first-round playoff series are on the brink of ending, the Jazz and Mavericks are just getting started. Utah found a way to beat Dallas in Game 4. A well-timed lob from Donovan Mitchell to Rudy Gobert gave the Jazz a 100-99 win to even the series at 2-2. It now becomes a best-of-three for the right to advance to the conference semifinals.
The series flips back to Dallas for Game 5 and that will give the Mavs an advantage. It also helps that they have their star, Luka Doncic, back on the floor. Doncic returned in Game 4 after missing the first three games of the series. He strained a calf in the Mavs final game of the regular season. While Doncic didn’t lead the Mavs to a win in Game 4, he came very close. He shot 11-of-21 from the floor and 4-of-10 from three-point range to lead Dallas with 30 points. Having Doncic is a huge plus for the Mavericks, but it is their defense that is the key to winning this series.
Remember, Utah was one of the top-scoring offenses in the NBA this season. The Jazz average 113.6 points per game. In this series, however, Utah is putting up 105.3 points a game. That is due to a relentless Mavs defense that ranks second in the league in scoring defense and third in defensive efficiency. Other than Game 3’s offensive explosion, Dallas has allowed Utah 100, 104, and 99 points.
Even with the loss in Game 4, Dallas is still 9-3 SU in its last 12 games. In those dozen games, the Mavericks are also 9-2-1 ATS. Dallas typically plays well at home. They went 30-13 SU in 43 games at the American Airlines Center this season. The Mavs have won seven of their last eight games at home and they are 4-1 ATS in the last five against Utah at home.
Utah struggles against the number. Over their last 15 games overall, the Jazz are just 3-11-1 ATS. In their last 15 road games, it’s more of the same. Utah is 3-12 ATS in the last 15 away from home and 1-8 ATS in their last nine games against Dallas. For the season, the Jazz are now 34-49-3 ATS and just 17-25-1 ATS in road games.
The series is split with two Overs and two Unders. Other than Game 3 when Dallas won 126-118, the series has had totals of 199, 214, and 192. Four of the last six Jazz games have gone Under the total. For Dallas, the Over has hit in eight of the last 11 games. Tonight’s total isn’t as high as Game 4, but it’s higher than Games 1, 2, and 3.
What’s interesting is that the pace of Game 3 was much higher than Game 4. Game 3’s pace was 95.6. The return of Doncic slowed the game down and Game 4’s pace was just 89.7. It’s no surprise then that four of the last six Jazz-Mavs games have gone Under the total.