Mavs After Four Straight

Two days after being taken to the final seconds in a win over the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Dallas Mavericks look to put together a more convincing performance against the team with the worst record in the West.

The Mavericks go for their fourth straight win on Sunday when they visit the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves, who hope to avoid their first eight-game losing streak in more than eight years.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Dallas -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 193.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Dallas (22-11) has been one of the league's hottest teams lately, winning 10 of its last 13 contests to pull within one game of the Southwest Division lead.

The Mavericks, though, struggled against Miami on Friday before Devin Harris finally sealed the 94-89 victory by stealing an inbounds pass and passing ahead to Josh Howard for an open layup with two seconds remaining.

"We were settling for too many jump shots. When we don't play well, we settle for jump shots, we don't move the ball, we don't guard, we don't talk," said Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, whose team trailed by eight at halftime. "But when we talk, move the ball, are physical, we can be a pretty good team."

"We try to just concentrate on playing our game. I think the more that we can concentrate on playing our game, and our goals and what we're trying to meet, we can beat almost anybody."

The Mavericks certainly seem capable of beating the league-worst Timberwolves (4-28), who are off to their worst start in franchise history and in danger of dropping eight straight games in a single season for the first time since Dec. 2-17, 1999.

On Friday, Minnesota topped 100 points for the first time in five games, but the Wolves also gave up a season high-tying point total in their 118-107 loss to Denver. Al Jefferson continued his strong play with 24 points and 15 rebounds - his third straight game with at least 20 points and at least 15 boards. The Wolves, though, were outscored 24-2 on fast breaks.

"We played hard but we just gave up too many easy points," Minnesota guard Marko Jaric said. "Fast breaks, alley-oops, lobs, they definitely cost us. We did play hard but it's hard to win when you allow that many easy points."

The defeat overshadowed a stellar performance from third-year guard Rashad McCants, who came off the bench to score a career-high 34 points with five rebounds and four assists.

"He came out and he was playing aggressive tonight," coach Randy Wittman said. "He had his motor going, playing at a higher energy level. That has to be a constant. I'm not talking about just the points, I'm talking about the effort and the energy."

The Timberwolves will likely need similar performances from Jefferson and McCants as they try to beat the Mavericks for the first time in two years. Dallas has won six straight in the series, including a 109-103 home victory on Nov. 28 in the first meeting of the season.

Minnesota's last win against Dallas was a 91-78 victory on Jan. 4, 2006.

Jefferson had 31 points and 14 rebounds against the Mavericks earlier this season, but averaged just 9.0 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 34.5 percent from the field in his previous three games against them.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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