Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat after losing their third game of the season. Both Dallas and Miami are looking to establish some consistency this season after disappointing starts.
Catch this game live on Saturday, January 2, at 8 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Dallas Mavericks (1-3, 0-1 at home)
What is going on with the Mavericks? Among those expected to contend for the title prior to the season, the Mavericks are off to a frozen cold start. They sank further from the .500 line after losing to the Charlotte Hornets, 118-99, at home on New Year’s eve and are just 1-3 against the spread through four games this season.
Tim Hardaway Jr. paced the Mavs with 18 points, while golden boy Luka Doncic only had 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Doncic is struggling from the field, as he’s shooting just 43.8 percent.
As a team, Dallas is making only 45.0 percent of their shots. Perhaps, Doncic and company will do better offensively against Miami, which is just 20th in the NBA with 115.8 points allowed per game. (That’s skewed however by a recent landslide loss to the Bucks.) Mavericks scorers can get a huge plus if Miami defensive ace Jimmy Butler won’t be able to suit up again.
The Mavericks, who are averaging 110.0 points, have seen the total hit the over in seven of their last 10 home games.
ROAD TEAM: Miami Heat (2-2, 0-1 on the road)
After getting bludgeoned by the Milwaukee Bucks in a 144-97 loss on Wednesday, the Heat rebounded and took down Giannis Antetokoumpo and company Thursday, 119-108. Both those games were in South Beach. In fact, the Heat’s last three games were all played in Miami.
They lost their first game of the season on the road to the Orlando Magic, 113-107. The Heat have been a bit creative with their starting unit, partly due to injuries. They have used four unique starting lineups over their past four games, and that could be a trend that continues on Saturday, especially if Butler gets ruled out again.
Butler did not play in the two Bucks games because of ankle stiffness, though the door is still open on his chances of playing against the Mavs. In any case, it appears that the Heat have Dallas’ number.
The Heat are 6-0 straight up in the last six meetings with the Mavericks, going 5-0-1 against the spread in those games as well.
It’s been an upside-down world for Dallas so far this season. Their offense is the one struggling, while their scoring defense is top 10 in the league, with opponents averaging just 108.8 points per game. Expect the Mavericks to break out of their offensive slump and beat the Heat, 114-109.