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Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2015 NBA Playoffs, Western Conference First Round Game 2 – April 21, 2015

Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2015 NBA Playoffs, Western Conference First Round Game 2 – April 21, 2015

Dirk Nowitzki brought his A-game with him to Game 1 on Saturday. But unfortunately for the Mavs, his teammates didn’t quite bring theirs as Houston took the series lead with a big home win. MVP candidate James Harden led a true team effort from the Rockets, who now set their sights on taking a 2-0 lead on Tuesday.

Can Houston take full advantage of home-court advantage before making the short trip to Dallas? Get caught up with this all-Texas affair with our preview below. Then, take a look at Tuesday’s other interesting matchup with our preview of Game 2 of the Wizards vs. Raptors.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Game 2 Preview

Series Scores & Schedule

Game 1 – April 18, 9:30 PM ET, Dallas Mavericks 108 at Houston Rockets 118

Game 2 – April 21, 9:30 PM ET, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets – view all NBA lines

Game 3 – April 24, 7:00 PM ET, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 4 – April 26, 9:30 PM ET, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 5* – April 28, TBD, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

Game 6* – April 30, TBD, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 7* – May 2, TBD, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

*If necessary

Betting on the Dallas Mavericks

Despite 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting from Dirk Nowitzki and 18 rebounds from Tyson Chandler, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t quite have enough offense to take Game 1 on the road. That was in large part because their other three starters – Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons – went a combined 17-of-47 (36 percent) from the field.

[sc:NBA240banner ]Parsons was playing his first game since missing the last six regular season games due to a knee injury, which also caused him to briefly exit Game 1. It’s hard to say how much the Mavs can get from him in this series, but the initial signs aren’t too encouraging. With Parsons ailing, the Mavs will need more from their leading scorer Ellis (19 points per game), who’s past his own injury problems.

The Mavs ranked No. 5 in offensive efficiency this season, and they’ll need to score as many points as possible because their defense has been a disaster during the last month or so. They’ve given up 107.3 points per possession during the last 15 games of the regular season, the fifth-worst defensive efficiency in the league. They didn’t get many stops in Game 1, either, with Jason Terry and Corey Brewer getting open looks from downtown.

Defending the three-pointer has been a big issue for the Mavs all season long – they’re rock bottom in three-pointers allowed per game – and unless they find some more offense, it might come back to bite them again in Game 2.

The over has gone 6-0 in the Mavs’ last six road games and is 9-1 in their last 10 games overall.

Betting on the Houston Rockets

To anyone who’s still making the argument that James Harden is MVP because his teammates aren’t that good, please turn your attention to Houston’s 118-108 Game 1 win over Dallas. Harden was typically at the forefront of the attack with 24 points (15-of-17 from the free throw line) and 11 assists, but six other Rockets scored in double-figures as they put in a complete team effort.

The Rockets even managed a double-digit win despite Dwight Howard finishing with just 10 points and five rebounds in only 17 minutes of play. Howard made his presence felt with four early blocks (he had five for the game) but foul trouble eventually took him out of the game.

Houston didn’t have too many problems without him, though, as they got timely contributions from the likes of Clint Capela (eight points, six rebounds, two blocks) and Josh Smith (11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) off the bench, along with starter Terrence Jones (19 points, nine rebounds, six assists).

Jones could turn out to be a crucial player in this series. He’s got the mobility to at least make Nowitzki work hard for his points, and the athleticism to exploit Dirk’s lack of any discernable lateral quickness on defense. Jones went to the line 11 times, as the Rockets had a massive 45-17 edge on free throw attempts in Game 1.

Meanwhile, a couple of former Mavericks in Jason Terry and Corey Brewer burned their old team by combining for 31 points and 7-of-11 from three-point range. It’s a bit optimistic to see the 37-year old Terry providing that much offense on a nightly basis, but with Rondo (a minus-25 in Game 1) failing to make a positive impact on the defensive end, Terry could yet make some telling contributions in Game 2.

The Rockets are 16-4 (14-6 against the spread) in their last 20 home games, and are 5-1 (straight up and against the spread) in their last six home games against Dallas.

Writer’s Prediction

The Mavs give it their best shot, but the Rockets make enough stops to eke out a 112-107 win in Game 2. Create a betting account now and take your best shot at making a profit on the NBA playoffs.

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Written by Brad

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