Dallas +6 at Atlanta O/U 200
Rick Carlisle took an opposite approach to his resting Dirk Nowitzki by sitting him last night in the first of a back-to-back situation. The thought process is a logical one as Dallas had what on the schedule appeared to be and subsequently turned out to be a walk through spot versus hapless Phoenix. Carlisle’s decision that playing Nowitzki wouldn’t be necessary to defeat Phoenix was correct and now figures to pay dividends as Dallas will be at full strength on the road against a more difficult opponent in Atlanta. The Hawks have been mired in an offensive slump lately failing to exceed 95 points or 41.8% FG shooting in five of their last six games. The recent 1-5 SU/ATS downswing seems to be having a negative effect on the team mindset as indicated by starting Kent Bazemore who said, "We're trying to find ourselves right now and there isn't really much going our way, it is just a tough time right now.” “We just got to stick with it. It's just not our time right now, and we got to deal with it." Certainly those words seem to suggest that the Hawks are only in the process of trying to get a grasp on what’s wrong. There are other significant factors including a recent injury to starting Paul Milsap which has either kept him out of the lineup or hindered his effectiveness the past few games. Starting point guard Jeff Teague is dealing with trade rumors which have been swirling like hurricane winds and could possibly be a distraction for him. Conversely, the Mavericks enter this game seeking atonement for their 98-95 loss back on December 9 which was a game that starting small forward Wesley Matthews feels they could’ve won had their play not been so lax. Tonight Dallas seems ready to bring full focus and energy to Phillips Arena and with last night’s non-taxing effort against Phoenix, they have the fresh legs and depth necessary to give a strong 48 minutes here. Price opened at +7 and has since come down to +6 but feel that’s enough to cash tonight with a motivated Dallas team.