Oklahoma City Thunder (-6, 207 o/u) at Dallas Mavericks
The Oklahoma City Thunder (32-12, 11-7 Away) will seek their seventh victory in a row tonight when they visit the Dallas Mavericks (25-19, 13-7 Home) at the American Airlines Center (8:30 PM Eastern).
The Thunder have been rolling like a storm cloud, compiling a 13-game lead over the Jazz in the Northwest Division. They haven’t lost since January 10 and already downed this same Mavericks team (108-99) on their current win streak.
Last time out, the Thunder won (and covered as 12.5-point favorites) against Charlotte (109-95) on Wednesday. Russell Westbrook, who was often seen as an atypical shoot-first point guard prior to this season, continued to play the role of distributor, dishing out 15 dimes (while shooting just 5 of 14 from the floor).
The All-Star guard is now averaging a career-best 9.8 assists per game.
“With the weapons we have, the best way for us to play and the best way for myself to play is to find those guys, get those guys shots, and I can score when I need to,” Westbrook told the Associated Press.
Dallas also comes in hot, winning three of its last four games, and only falling to the powerhouse Spurs over that period. They took care of business on Wednesday, as well, beating the Timberwolves, 106-94; however, even with the latest wins, they remain 12.5-games back of San Antonio in the Southwest Division.
Veteran Dirk Nowitzki is questionable for tonight. He missed the meeting against Minnesota due to swelling in his right knee.
“The good thing is I really didn’t have any pain,” said the 37-year-old German to the AP. “When you’re old, there’s always something coming up and this came up out of nowhere.”
Age aside, missing Nowitzki would be a big loss for the Mavs. He remains the team’s leading scorer (17.8 PPG), contributes on the glass (6.9 RPG), and connects at nearly 40-percent from three. And the Mavs will need all the help they can get against an OKC side that has dominated the recent head-to-head, taking 14 of the last 19 in the series.
Pick: Oklahoma City (-6).
(Photo credit: Erik Drost from United States (Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)