NBA: Dallas and Portland in Survival Mode


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NBA: Dallas and Portland in Survival Mode
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NBA: Dallas and Portland in Survival Mode

NBA: Dallas and Portland in Survival Mode


2010-04-29

The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers enter their respective contests Thursday with a singular thought, force a Game 7. Dallas passed its first test, routing San Antonio at home, now will have to stave off elimination as the No. 2 seed in the West by winning as the underdog. Portland suffered its third pasting by Phoenix Monday night and will try to extend the series by eclipsing the Suns as a 1-point favorite according to Sportsbook.com. Read on for a look at both games then head over to the LIVE ODDS page to get your money down.

Coaching could be the key

Forget the players from Dallas and San Antonio for a second and think about the two coaches. No coach is going to win unless he has the players, however when the talent is fairly equally distributed, the ability to make adjustments is tantamount.

Rick Carlisle is a good NBA coach, seemingly well-liked but has never won a thing. Greg Popovich is abrasive, a smart-aleck at times and has won four NBA championships. While this might not be Avery Johnson vs. Pat Riley in the 2006 NBA Finals in terms of mismatches it certainly in the neighborhood.

Carlisle and his staff deserve props for making adjustments and better utilizing the talent owner Mark Cuban traded for. Brendan Haywood was inserted into the starting lineup Tuesday evening and the offense frequently went thru him and having played with Caron Butler in Washington, the two clicked as Butler scored a career playoff-high of 35 points in 103-81 blowout.

"That was fun," Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki said and his team is 26-16-1 ATS in road games this season.

Coach Popovich was displeased with what he saw from his squad and said so, "Mostly it was the case of they came with the mental and physical toughness, and our starting group wasn't very good in either category"

San Antonio is 16-5 ATS at home after a loss by 20 points and Popovich must first get his team back in the proper frame of mind.

The Spurs are 3.5-point favorites with total of 191 at Sportsbook.com and are on a 9-2-1 ATS roll. Dallas will attempt to counter being 4-0-1 ATS after a double digit.

Maybe the Spurs just had better players, but since Tim Duncan arrived in San Antonio, he and Popovich are 5-0 in seven-game series after building 3-1 lead. This isn't Carlisle's fault, but Dallas has never rallied from down 3-1 in a series.

It's about wins not point differential

Fifty years ago this fall, the New York Yankees outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates by 28 runs in the World Series and lost in seven games. Portland coach Nate McMillian might be wise to remind his team that history can be repeated, just on the hardwood instead of grass.

The Trailblazers have been blitzed three times by 29, 19 and 19 points, the latter two could have been much worse. Their triumphs have been by five and nine points respectively. "This series is crazy," Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We win; they win by 30."

Portland will try to force a sevent game playing at the Rose Garden and is 13-3 ATS having lost three of its last four contests. "We'll be fine," point guard Andre Miller said after Monday's spanking. "We just have to think about one game. It's time to go home and take care of business."

Phoenix raised its record to 28-13 ATS against defensive teams that allow 46 percent or higher shooting percentage this season. Yes, Portland yields 46.5%.

The Suns are catching one point and are 7-3-1 ATS as Pick or road underdog since Jan. 31. This 3 vs. 6 matchup has seen the number fall below the total three times in a row and Portland is 8-0 ATS after three or more consecutive Under's this year.

With the total at 201.5, Phoenix is 8-2-1 UNDER after a 10 or more point conquest and the Trailblazers are 7-0-1 UNDER after losing by double digits. TNT has both battles with the first game at 8:00 Eastern.

The StatFox Power Lines for these contests show San Antonio by 2, Phoenix by 7.

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