Lakers and Mavericks in Saturday NBA odds clash

By: Adam Markowitz | Friday, March 11, 2011

A pair of teams that are looking for some motivation meet up in NBA betting action in "Big D" on Saturday, as the Los Angeles Lakers duke it out with the Dallas Mavericks.

These two teams are both vying for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs this year, and Dallas currently has the slender lead by just 1.5 games coming into Friday, making this tussle all the more important. Tip-off from American Airlines Center is set for 6:00 p.m. (PT).

Kobe Bryant spent an extra hour on the court in South Beach on Thursday night after his Lakers were dropped by the Miami Heat to try to get his shooting touch back. You can bet that the Black Samba is certainly going to be ready and raring to get back on the court in Dallas, and the Mavericks had better be awfully careful about it.

Bryant already has 19 games this season with at least 30 points scored, and we would tend to guess that his season high of 41 against the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics is a mark that is challengeable.

The difference this year for the Lakers though, is their team defense. They're holding teams to just 95.2 PPG this season, ranking No. 7 in the Association. We know that LA isn't going to go scoreless down the stretch with Bryant and Pau Gasol, so if the team can continue playing solid ball, especially late in games on the defensive end of the court, there is going to be no stopping this team.

The Mavs were beaten by the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, and head coach Rick Carlisle essentially called his team out. As a response, they came out and absolutely beat the snot out of the New York Knicks on Thursday, 127-109.

Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry all scored at least 21 points on the day for Dallas, and all three are really playing well at this point. Marion scored over 10 points for the first time this month, while Terry had his 11th-straight game reaching double digits in scoring.

Dallas is shooting 47.6 percent from the field this season, ranking No. 2 in the land, while a three-point shooting percentage of 37.3 percent is No. 7 in the NBA. The defense is slacking just a bit though, and that really can't make Carlisle happy.

Against a schedule that really hasn't been that tough, the Mavericks have given up 103.8 PPG in their last five, and they have gone just 1-4 ATS in those outings. For the season, they're at 96.3 PPG allowed, No. 10 in the league. That's a far cry from where this team was earlier in the season when it was challenging the best defensive marks in the game.

The Lakers might not have been able to stay cool and beat the Heat on Thursday, but they still have seven straight covers against Western Conference teams on the NBA odds. They're also 9-2 ATS over the course of their last 11 road games against teams with winning home records. However, LA has only gone 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games against the Southwest Division.

Dallas is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games following an ATS victory, and 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games against teams with a winning percentage of at least .600.

This is the second meeting of the season between these foes. The Mavs snared a 109-100 victory here at the American Airlines Center back in January.

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