Featured Video from Scott Steehn
When and where: March 14, 2019, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO, 10:30 PM ET
The Dallas Mavericks hope to snap a six-game losing streak on Thursday when they go on the road to take on the Denver Nuggets. It has been a rocky run in recent outings for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their last six games, including Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavericks, on the other hand, recently picked up their 40th loss of the season to the San Antonio Spurs.
Should the Mavericks bench Doncic?
It’s time to ask the question of whether the Mavericks are playing Doncic for too many minutes. It was well known he was entering Tuesday’s game against the Spurs with a knee injury, and the Mavericks still opted to play him for 34 minutes. Doncic isn’t the type of player that likes to sit out games, even when the playoffs are no longer in his team’s future.
However, he is also a rookie and a very emotional player, and perhaps it’s time for head coach Rick Carlisle to step in and make the executive decision to rest and preserve his young star.
“He’s an emotional player, but he just turned 20,” said Mavericks legendary forward Dirk Nowitzki said after the game, per ESPN.com. “He’ll be fine. I’m not worried about him. He’s had a heck of a rookie season so far and he’s going to keep attacking for us.”
Doncic certainly didn’t look fine on the court, going 5-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the 112-105 loss to the Spurs. Jalen Brunson deserves credit for keeping the Mavericks in the game by dropping 34 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Nuggets show life on offense
Fans have been waiting for the Nuggets to finally explode on the offensive end of the floor, and that wait finally came to an end on Tuesday night as they buried the Timberwolves at home, 133-107. It was easily one of the team’s best shooting nights of the season with players averaging a combined 60.0 percent shooting from the floor, including going 18-of-30 from 3-point land.
They were knocking down 3-pointers like they were the Golden State Warriors. Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray and Monte Morris combined for 12-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc.
“After the last couple of days, the film sessions and just harping on ball movement and being selfless and playing for each other, for us to go out there and get 40 assists on 51 field goals, was refreshing and fun to watch,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told The Denver Post.
Murray was the star of the night for the Nuggets with 30 points, three rebounds and three steals. Center Nikola Jokic had another well-rounded effort with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Millsap contributed 23 points, five rebounds and two assists.
- Nuggets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games against teams with a road winning % of less than .400
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a losing straight up record
- Nuggets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game
- Nuggets are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games
- Mavericks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after an ATS loss
- Mavericks are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games
- Mavericks are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game
- Mavericks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It really doesn’t make any sense to continue risking Doncic playing, especially if he’s dealing with a knee issue. The Mavericks have to be careful not to let his pride get in the way of what should be a prosperous future in the NBA. Carlisle might actually do the right thing and sit him in this game, but I’m more inclined to believe he’ll play with limited minutes.
This would be a great game to rest him considering the Mavericks are going up against the No. 2-ranked team in the Western Conference. The writing is already on the wall for this game, particularly with the Nuggets sitting only two games behind the No. 1-ranked Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks are clearly a team that’s rebuilding and trying to get healthy, while the Nuggets continue to go all in for a 2019 postseason run.
Despite all of the Nuggets’ struggles throughout the season, they have still only lost six times at the Pepsi Center. Not to mention they are one of the most balanced teams in the league. The Mavericks are in over their heads whether Doncic plays or not.
Give me the Nuggets in this game.
Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-11)
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 17-8 in the Mavericks’ last 25 games played on a Thursday and 8-1 in the Nuggets’ last nine overall. Doncic not being 100 percent doesn’t give me much confidence in the Mavericks offense. Even if he was healthy, they still rank in the bottom-half of the league with an average of 107.9 points per game. Meanwhile, I’d err on the side of caution of believing the Nuggets are suddenly back on offense after one game. Take the under in this one.
Prediction: Under (220)