NBA Playoff Pick 'Em: Here's why Warriors-Mavericks won't end in a sweep

Dallas Mavericks' Jalen Brunson (13) and Luka Doncic (77) celebrate late in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Well, there goes my nice little winning streak. I really thought I had the Celtics and Heat figured out, but then Miami goes and wins a game in Boston in which Jaylen Brown drops 40 and Jimmy Butler misses the second half.

Can’t dwell on it too long, we’ve got an equally strange series to assess in Dallas vs. Golden State. Game 2 saw Luka Doncic figure it out as Dallas jumped out to a 19-point lead in the first half, only to watch Stephen Curry and the Warriors produce one of their trademark third-quarter flurries that have terrorized the NBA for nearly a decade.

This series isn’t going end in a sweep. I know my Warriors too well, there’s going to be a game where they don’t show up defensively, or the shots aren’t falling. The question is whether that comes in Game 3 or 4.

Overall record against the spread: 26-25-1

Golden State Warriors (+2.5, +125) at Dallas Mavericks (-2.5, -145) – 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Spoilers: I think it’ll be Game 3.

Sometimes I break down stats, sometimes I break down tactics or player tendencies. Sometimes, I just have a feeling. Today, I have a feeling. There’s something about the way Doncic watched Curry do his patented “Goodnight” celebration after hitting a three to ice the game.

Luka Magic is real, and he knows how to hold a grudge. Look at how he torched the Phoenix Suns after Devin Booker feigned injury before saying, “The Luka Special.” The man is the modern NBA’s personification of the Michael Jordan “And I took that personally” meme. As good as he was in Game 2, I think he can be better.

The question Game 2 begs is, “If Dallas can’t win when Jalen Brunson and Reggie Bullock combined for 52 points, and Draymond Green plays poorly, when can they win?” Lost in the sauce of the Dubs’ comeback and the incredible start for the Mavericks is the reason Golden State was able to come back: Dallas put out almost zero effort in the defensive paint.

It’s why Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points, it’s why they were outscored 62-30 in the paint and outrebounded 43-30. Paint defence and rebounding are effort stats. The Mavericks can close the gap by simply working harder. I think they’re too proud to not be embarrassed by Game 2, and they’ll play a hard 48 Sunday. I like Dallas (-2.5). I also like the game total UNDER 218.5, despite the scores in the first two games of this series. A good Mavs game is a slow game, and I expect them to exert their will in Game 3.

I’m going to keep riding Klay Thompson OVER 3.5 rebounds, as well as Andrew Wiggins OVER 15.5 points, and I think Doncic goes UNDER 50.5 points, assists and rebounds combined, mostly because he’s not rebounding the ball terribly well against Golden State and I can’t really imagine his spot-up shooters having a hotter game than they did on Friday.

The Sicko Same Game Parlay of The Night pays off at +2000

· Dallas Mavericks Money Line

· Luka Doncic UNDER 50.5 points, assist and rebounds combined

· Game total UNDER 218.5

· Klay Thompson OVER 3.5 rebounds

· Andrew Wiggins OVER 15.5 points

As always, play safe and don’t chase.

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