The heat is on the Los Angeles Lakers following just two wins from their last six games and after falling back out of the Western Conference play-off places, they’re now under pressure from below from Dallas as well as above from Utah.
The Mavericks could heap further pressure upon their rivals if they come up trumps in LA on Tuesday night and with four wins out of five, they’re hitting form at just the right time to put the Lakers on guard.
Dirk Nowitzki’s resurgence has been critical and the German has been sensational since the All Star break, looking more like his old self in the way he took over at the end of the game in the Mavs win over Chicago on Saturday.
The Lakers did take victory last time out, against Sacramento, but Steve Nash picked up an injury that makes him a doubt for tonight. Kobe Bryant remains hobbled but he’s still having to carry his inconsistent team. This are troubled times with Dallas marking the start of a crucial three-game stretch in which they also face the Grizzlies and Clippers.
They’ll need to improve their defence from past efforts lately. Another sloppy Lakers performance could see this game go over the total points line of 207.0. But with the Mavericks looking much the hungrier, back Dallas on the handicap of +3 points at 1.91.
There’s a new name at the head of the streak list in the NBA with the New York Knicks winning eight straight games. But that still looks a pale second best to their hosts on Tuesday, the Miami Heat, who are 29-1 over their last 30 games and a menacing 32-3 at home.
The reigning champions, who have already clinched top seed in the East, are -7.5 on the handicap at 1.91. But with nothing tangible to play for, you can bet that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will pick his moments to rest his star names over the final weeks of the regular season.
That’s exactly what he did on Sunday but even without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat still edged out San Antonio. Those kind of late decisions will force a few unexpected results as we head into the post-season with the Knicks awaiting their hosts’ line-up with interest.
Bet of the Day: Take Dallas +3 to beat the LA Lakers at 1.91
Follow Mark Woods' NBA betting tips every day