Dallas Mavericks (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS, 3-3 O/U) vs. Utah Jazz (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS, 0-5 O/U)
NBA: Monday, October 30, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Utah Jazz -7.5. Total: 192.
The Dallas Mavericks are the worst team in the NBA at 1-6 as of Sunday as they prepare to visit the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday night. Dallas lost four games in a row to begin the season, beat Memphis, and has since dropped two more. The Jazz halted a two-game skid by defeating the Lakers on Saturday.
Starting five not alive
The Mavericks have dropped six of their first seven games, including a 112-110 home loss to the 76ers on Saturday. Small forward Harrison Barnes scored a team-high 25 points on Saturday but was a minus-18 on the night and had some harsh words for himself and his fellow starters. Reserve point guard J.J. Barea is a leader off the bench and is averaging 13.1 points and 5.1 assists in 22.9 minutes.
“It’s our starting unit,” Barnes noted. “At the beginning of the first quarter and at the beginning of the third quarter we’re getting off to slow starts, and it puts the whole team in a deficit. I mean, look at the way the second unit was playing with just the plus-minus. All of those guys were contributing and getting us back in the game. But as starters, we can’t put ourselves in that deficit.”
“We’ve just got to do better really over the course of 48 minutes,” head coach Rick Carlisle added. “That’s really the biggest thing.”
Perfect at home
Utah has yet to win on the road this season but is luckily it has reached a stretch in which it is playing eight of nine at home. The Jazz will try to improve to 2-0 during this stretch and 4-0 overall at home when it entertains Dallas on Monday. Utah dropped back-to-back games at the Suns and Clippers last week but returned home and clamped down on defense in a 96-81 victory over the Lakers on Saturday.
“This team is still trying to discover who it is,” head coach Quin Snyder admitted. “I’ve said all along, it’s a work in progress. As long as our defense stays strong, we’ll have an opportunity to be competitive while we’re trying to get better.”
Utah lost leading scorer Gordon Hayward over the summer to free agency but could be witnessing the emergence of a new go-to scorer in rookie guard Donovan Mitchell. The 21-year-old enjoyed a breakout with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting in Saturday’s win while knocking down 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and showing off his athleticism on some highlight-worthy dunks.
“Biggest thing for Donovan is to not get too high or too low after games,” Snyder said of Mitchell. “He obviously doesn’t have a lot of fear. That’s a good thing.”
The Dallas Mavericks are:
- 3-1-1 Under in their last five games against the Western Conference
- 4-0 Under in their last four games against the Northwest Division
- 23-7-2 Under in their last 32 games after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game
The Utah Jazz are:
- 5-0-1 Under in their last six overall
- 5-1 Under in their last six home games
- 5-0-1 Under in their last six games against the Western Conference
Utah can be a defensive force at times thanks to big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. That is bad news for a struggling Dallas side, which is especially short on production from its starters at the moment. The under is 3-1-1 in the Mavericks’ last five against the Western Conference, 4-0 in their last four against the Northwest Division, and 23-7-2 in their last 32 after scoring at least 100 points in their previous outing. It is also 5-0-1 in the Jazz’s last six overall, 5-1 in their last six at home, 5-0-1 in their last six against the Western Conference, 7-0-1 in their last eight following a win, and 4-0 in their last four against opponents with winning percentages under .400. Look for this one to stay under the total.