Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets: NBA Playoff Series Preview

Greg RiotAnalyst IMay 1, 2009

Dallas Mavericks (50-32 SU, 40-42 ATS) vs. Denver Nuggets (54-28 SU, 45-36-1 ATS)

BetUS NBA Playoff Betting Odds

To Win Series

Denver Nuggets -220

Dallas Mavericks +175


Game One—May 3, Dallas at Denver, 3:30 PM ET

Game Two—May 5, Dallas at Denver, 10:30 PM ET

Game Three—May 9, Denver at Dallas, 5 PM ET

Game Four—May 11, Denver at Dallas, 9:30 PM ET

Game Five*—May 13, Dallas at Denver, TBD

Game Six*—May 15, Denver at Dallas, TBD

Game Seven*—May 17, Dallas at Denver, TBD

*If Necessary

Let's take a look at the HEAD-to-HEAD NBA pro basketball betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* DEN has won the last five meetings SU

* DEN has covered seven of the last eight meetings

* Four of the last six meetings have gone UNDER the total

* DEN has won five of the last six meetings SU as the home team

* DEN has covered four of the last six meetings as the home team

* DEN has won three of the last four meetings SU as the road team

* DEN has covered the last four meetings as the road team

* Eight of the last ten meetings in Dallas have gone UNDER the total

* DALL has had the rebounding edge in nine of the last 10 meetings

* DALL has made more three-pointers in seven of the last 10 meetings

Here are some other notable things to look at:

* Denver is 35-9 SU and 26-17-1 ATS at the Pepsi Center

* Dallas is 34-9 SU and 21-22 ATS at the American Airlines Center

* Denver has been a 47 percent shooting team this season

* Dallas turns the ball over 12.2 times a game, compared with 15 TO's/game for Denver

* Dallas is the second best free throw shooting team in the league at 81.9 percent.

* Denver is third in the league in steals at 8.7 per game

* In their last ten games against Dallas, Denver has averaged 9.4 steals per contest

* Both of these teams have made ten three-point shots in each of their last two games

* Denver was fourth in the league in scoring at home, with 107.8 ppg

* Denver has covered 20 of 29 games at home against other teams in the West

Both of these teams were superb in their first-round playoff series. Neither of them just “snuck by.” Dallas won the first game of their set at San Antonio and then wrapped things up at the AT&T Center on Tuesday, scoring all four of their wins against the four-time champs by at least eight points.

Aside from the series clincher, the highlight was the 88-67 win in Game Three. That seemed to break the back of the Spurs, who had evened up things in Game Two.

Denver glided through its series with New Orleans, winning four of the five games without breaking much of a sweat.

The four wins over the Hornets came by an average of almost 31 points per game, and the 121-63 win at the New Orleans Arena was masterful, as the Nuggets limited New Orleans to 32 percent shooting and star guard Chris Paul to four points. In each of the four wins, Denver shot 50 percent or better from the field.

Judging from the matchups this year, Denver would appear to exhibit a clear edge as they won all four meetings. Going back even further, they have covered seven of the last eight encounters. Remember when Dallas was a real run 'n gun team?

Well, they have slowed the pace down a bit under coach Rick Carlisle, running more of a half-court offense with Jason Kidd as the on-floor leader. Kidd is not much of a shooter (41.6% for the year) but he had a 3.8-to-1 ratio of assists to turnovers this season and was nearly flawless against San Antonio, dishing out 28 assists with only three TO's.

The question may be whether he is just a tad too slow to keep pace with Chauncey Billups, who had 37 assist of his own against New Orleans (with just six turnovers) and who hit an astounding 65.5% from beyond the arc.

Sure, Dallas has the veteran Erick Dampier jumping center, but is that as daunting a challenge than facing Tyson Chandler? Are the Mavs going to get beaten to the punch both at the points and in the paint?

Dallas would like to get a matchup advantage with Dirk Nowitzki, and indeed Dirk averaged 30 points in the four meetings this season. Also, the Nuggets probably can't matchup the burst of energy Jason Terry gives the Mavs off the bench.

However, there wasn't much the Mavs did to stop Carmelo Anthony either (94 points in three meetings) and there is positively no one on the bench who comes in to swat away shots quite like journeyman Chris Andersen, the Blinn College grad (where?) who blocked 2.5 shots a game in just over 20 minutes of playing time.

On an overall basis, there is more of a defensive culture in Denver, and the credit for that doesn't necessarily lie in anything George Karl has done. Karl's reputation has been that of a coach who can get his team to the payoffs, but not much farther.

That changed with the arrival of Billups, who is used to playing at both ends of the floor from his days in Detroit and the departure of Allen Iverson, who had neither the size, defensive ability, unselfishness or distribution capability of this team's new leader.

That, and the fact that Denver has more guys who can flat-out score, are the two major differences, when it comes down to it. We’re with the Nuggets, the -220 favorite in the BetUS NBA pro basketball playoff future betting odds.



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