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NBA Preview: 15th January

WE’RE ready to kick off our weekend with another big slate of NBA action for punters.

Let’s take a look at the best bit of value on offer today:

Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies

THE Dallas Mavericks head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies in what should be a very feisty Divisional matchup.

After a very somber start to the season the Mavs have significantly turned things around and it would seem they are adjusting to the wholesale changes that were made in the off season. Bringing in new head coach Jason Kidd with a host of rotational pieces to fill out their roster was a foreseeable challenge and Dallas is now seeing the fruits of their labour.

The team is 6-1 in their last 7 games the Mavs have been able to be significantly more effective without the ball and their defence has been much improved throughout this win streak.

Bringing in players such as Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown and Frank Ntilikina to provide more of a defensive identity throughout their rotations has provided a much needed grit that Mavericks teams have lack previously. They have the leagues top-rated defence over the past fortnight of play and currently allowing the least amount of point per game since the ’16-17 season.

Jalen Brunson has made a huge leap and doing so has provided All-Star Luka Doncic some reprieve on the offensive end by earning the respect of defenders and being a legitimate second option scoring the ball.

Brunson has seen a massive uptick in minutes played and as a result is averaging career highs in Points, Rebounds and assists while increasing his shot attempts without drastically impacting his field goal percentages.

Meanwhile, Memphis is running hot.  Currently sitting 4th in the Western Conference with a 30-14 record and winning a franchise record 11 straight games they have taken care of all of the major championship competitors during this stretch and have won in a variety of different ways, showing poise and ability to adjust in-game.

The Grizz will have to back up after their game with the Timberwolves and will be playing their third game in four days. There is seemingly little bearing on rest disadvantage with this young Grizz squad covering in 8 of their 10 games in similar situations, but ultimately it will begin to catch up with them.

To make the most of this situational matchup Dallas needs to force Memphis into halfcourt sets and try to limit the transition opportunities.  While Memphis has had a very potent offence in transition, they are below league average in half court scoring.

The Mavs commit the second fewest turnovers in the league while the Grizzlies lead the lead in steals and opposition turnovers leading to points in transition. Setting the game up in halfcourt sets will allow Luka to determine the pace of the game and we can expect to see shots later in the shot clock if that’s the case.

An area of concern for Memphis is the regularity in which they allow opponents to shoot from deep. The Grizzlies allow opponents to shoot nearly 38% from three this season.  While the Mavs haven’t converted their opportunities consistently over the course of the season, they have made the most of their chances against sides with similar profiles to Memphis.

With players such as Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith spacing and shooting the ball well, and the likes of Brunson and Luka chipping in, they have a lot of options when it comes to shooting.

This is about the only opportunity Memphis will provide Dallas score well as they protect the rim and the rest of the floor very efficiently. The Grizzlies play with a chip on their shoulder and have shown that they are up for any challenge.

Their defence in half court sets has been up for the challenge and I expect their full attention on this matchup and a chance to get a win over a Divisional foe.

This game projects to be played in half court sets with two competent defences and projects to be a slower than league average pace.  Both teams’ matchup well across the board and should be up for this game. Given these prospects it’s not surprising to see my projections show an edge to the under in this situation.

Our best bet: Under 216.5 points $1.90 at PlayUp


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