Two teams sitting third in their respective conferences will go head-to-head in the Lone Star State Wednesday as the Dallas Mavericks (18-8) host the Boston Celtics (17-7). The Mavericks are coming off a win against Milwaukee to snap the Bucks’ 18-game winning streak, while the Celtics are hoping to end their own two-game losing streak.
Here is a preview for Wednesday night’s game, along with odds and a free pick.
By The Numbers
The Celtics come into the game averaging 110.8 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting. They’re 14th in the league in three-pointers made, averaging 12.4 triples per game, and are in the top half of the league in rebounding. Boston also does a good job of not turning the ball over, managing the second-fewest turnovers per game with 12.6.
Defensively, Boston is allowing 104.1 points per game. The Celtics are top 10 in steals with 8.3 per game, while also averaging just under six blocks per game as well. Overall, the Celtics are sixth in offensive rating and seventh in defensive rating.
As one of the biggest surprises of the season, the Mavericks are averaging 118.2 points per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the field. They make the second-most threes per game with 14.8, while also currently ranking among the best rebounding teams in the NBA. They’re also the one team that is averaging fewer turnovers than Boston at 12.2 per game.
This season, Dallas is allowing 109.2 points per game. The defense as a whole is a little average, as they rank 28th in steals with 6.2 while also averaging just 4.4 blocks a night. Overall, the Mavericks are the league leaders in offensive rating but rank 14th in defensive rating.
Who To Watch
The Celtics recently suffered their first loss of the season at home, but it wasn’t due to Kemba Walker. The point guard is flourishing in his first year in green, averaging 23.1 points per game. He’s been even better in his last eight games, averaging 26.8 points in that stretch, including 44- and 39-point outings.
Walker isn’t the only 20-point scorer on the Celtics roster. Third-year forward Jayson Tatum is averaging 20.6 points on the season to go along with seven rebounds. However, he’s dealing with a sinus infection, so his status for Wednesday is up in the air. Look for Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward to also get involved with the scoring for Boston.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks suffered a massive loss over the weekend when second-year superstar Luka Doncic suffered a moderate ankle sprain that will keep him out for a couple of weeks. While Doncic — averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists — is on the mend, expect Kristaps Porzingis to take center stage. Porzingis scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds during Monday’s win against the Bucks and is now averaging 17.2 points and nine rebounds this season.
Other players who will have to step up in Doncic’s absence include Jalen Brunson and Seth Curry. With Brunson taking over the point guard duties the last two games, he has been dishing out assists at a high rate, racking up 11 assists and 13 points on Monday. Meanwhile, Curry has provided a nice scoring boost off the bench, dropping 26 points on Monday while shooting 4-for-8 from three.
Odds And Pick
Even though the game is in Dallas, Doncic’s injury is largely responsible for the Celtics being -1.5 favorites Wednesday night and -125 on the moneyline. But even without Luka, I like the Mavericks in this one.
They are a strong rebounding team and hold a significant size advantage over Boston. The Celtics are deeper and have better defense, but I expect Brunson to facilitate well and find good shots for the plethora of shooters Dallas dresses on a nightly basis. Give me the Mavericks +1.5 and +105 on the moneyline.