|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBABefore losing their last game at the last second, the Dallas Mavericks had won 18 of 19 game. Monday night, the Mavs will travel to Minnesota to take on the lowly Timberwolves for a 8:00 PM ET start at the Target Center. Dallas is listed as the 7 point favorites by the sportsbook, and the total is set at 209, with expectations of a high-scoring game.
Look for All-Star Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves to carry his team, as usual. Though the Wolves are 15-49 this season, Love will be looking to tie Moses Malone's record for 51 consecutive double-doubles. He hit 50 on Saturday in a 103-96 loss in Washington against the Wizards, where he had 20 points and 21 rebounds, his 11th 20-20 game this season and third in a row.
If Love had a few more talented players on his team, Minnesota could be a force to reckon with in the NBA. But as it stands, he will have to be content with personal records, instead of playoff success. But as it stands right now, the Dallas Mavericks are looking ahead to the playoffs as the fourth-ranked team in the Western Conference, while the Wolves will be rebuilding in the off-season.
Since January 7, 2006, the Mavericks have lost only one out of 17 total games against the Timberwolves, and have won the last eight games in Minnesota by 17.1 points per game, on average. In fact, they play better on the road against the Wolves than in Dallas, where they only manage to win games in this series by an average of 6.4 points.
Dallas has been flying well under the radar this season, due to the fact that they are only second in their Southwest Division, well behind the San Antonio Spurs. But a 45-17 record is nothing to dismiss, and it is not inconceivable to imagine the Mavericks beating the Lakers or other elite Western Conference teams in the postseason. They have put together a number of impressive winning streaks this season.
The Mavericks are coming off of an extremely close 104-103 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. Dirk Nowtizki put the Mavs ahead by a point with 3.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but he was answered by the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph's jumper with 0.3 seconds left that gave Memphis the win. Dallas has only lost consecutive games twice this season, so their ability to rebound after a loss does not bode well for the Timberwolves tonight.