Fri, Mar 26, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Dallas Mavericks (23-19, 11-9 home) host the Indiana Pacers (20-23, 12-11 away) on Friday, March 26, at 8:30 PM ET.
Indiana won its last game played and Dallas has won two in a row as these playoff hopefuls collide on Friday night in a primetime contest.
The Mavericks sit in first place in the Southwest Division, holding a one-game lead over the second-place San Antonio Spurs. Dallas is 7-3 in the last 10 games.
The Pacers are in second place in the Central Divison but are nine games out of first behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Indiana is just 5-5 in the last 10 games.
There aren’t many players listed on the injury list for tonight’s game, but every player listed has been ruled out for the contest.
Dallas recently took over first place in the Southwest as San Antonio is in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
The Mavericks most recently defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 128-108. Kristaps Porzingis led the charge for Dallas, scoring 29. Seven Dallas players reached double digits in points.
"If we want to be the best team that we think in our mind that we can be, then these games are must-wins," Porzingis said. "These are the types of games that we cannot let slip."
The win moved the Mavericks to 14-5 in their last 19 games. After missing the previous five games, James Johnson finally rejoined the team. He was available to enter the game but did not play. The home game tonight comes before a five-game road swing.
The Pacers most recently took down the Detroit Pistons 116-111. The win snapped a six-game losing streak at home.
Caris LeVert scored 28 in the winning effort.
"I felt like I've tried to be aggressive from day one," LeVert said, "but it takes time."
LeVert connected on his fourth 3-pointer of the night with 4.7 seconds left in the game to push the Pacers into the win column.
"Very big shot," Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said. "His legs are getting under him more and more each day."
LeVert joined the Pacers via trade in the middle of January but this was the first time he scored 20 or more points with his new team.
"I love fourth quarters. I love big moments," he said. "Every win is important for us right now as we try to make the playoffs."
The Pistons had an opportunity to tie the game late but committed a costly turnover that ultimately prevented them from forcing overtime.
The Mavericks are without Tyrell Terry (personal) and Willie Cauley-Stein (health and safety protocols). The Pacers will be without TJ Warren, who is battling a foot injury.
The Mavericks are -4 point favorites against the Pacers tonight and have the -175 money line in their favor. If you are looking to place a wager on an NBA game Friday night, your best bet is for the -4 point Mavericks to take down the Pacers at home.