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NBA: Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors Preview

An understrength Dallas Mavericks head to San Francisco aiming to produce an unlikely win.

Saturday night sees one of the league’s worst travelling contenders meet one of the best home records, with the Mavs looking to cause a shock without their best player.

There’s been a real odds swing in this one off the back of the news that Luka Doncic misses out. 

He’s joined on the sidelines by Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood, while Spencer Dinwiddie is also doubtful.

The Mavs are certainly underdogs and are rightly outsiders in the betting, but will the defending champions see this as a chance to rotate?

WhatDAL Mavericks @ GS Warriors
WhereChase Center, San Francisco, California
When01:40, Sunday 5th February 2023
How to watchNBA Pass, bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsDAL Mavericks 13/4, GS Warriors 4/17

Mavs miss Luka Magic

The visitors are probably the NBA team most reliant on their superstar player. Everything goes through Luka Doncic. 

This term he’s the 8/1 third-favourite for the MVP award after another season of brilliant displays.

Last season he inspired their run to the Western Conference finals, even helping them to cause problems for the Warriors as Steph Curry and co. marched on to the title.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that they’re a much worse team without him, although their record without their star is downright terrible. 

The Mavs are 0-6 without Luka this term, failing to score over 100 points in half of those losses.

In games where they did get going in attack, their defensive issues hurt them. 

While Luka is seen as a defensive liability – outweighed by his incredible attacking flair – the Mavs have twice given up 140 points without him in the side.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the strongest of the six sides they faced, so going up against the Warriors at the Chase Center is a concern. 

Five of those six Luka-less losses came on the road too, so the Mavs’ awful away form could be about to get worse.

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Both sides love home comforts

One thing these two sides share this term is a love of their home court, with the pair both struggling to get it going on the road. 

The visitors sit fourth in the Western Conference with a 28-25 record, but 19 of those 28 wins have come at home.

The Mavs have also lost 11 away games with Luka in a 9-16 away return, so even with him they’d be outsiders here. 

The Warriors are worthy favourites on the Money Line at 4/17 given that they have won 19 of 25 home games, but they’ve been dragged down by a 7-20 record on their travels.

There’s clearly a gulf between the two at full strength, as shown by the Warriors' 4-1 win in the conference finals last year. 

However, this Dallas team without arguably their three best players could be in trouble. 

The visitors come into this one with the league’s 24th-ranked defence and without key attacking options they could be blown away by the defending champions on Saturday night.

Will the Warriors make changes?

The hope for Dallas is that the hosts see the state of the visitors and think they can use this as an opportunity to rest some of their guys. 

After all, the Warriors have a unique roster where their championship-winning core is supported by a group of young talents which they’re looking to develop into their next super team.

While Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green being listed as questionable is good for the Mavs, that’s not the entire Warriors’ roster. 

The champions have great depth and they can still contend without their biggest names.

While Curry’s absence earlier this season dented the Warriors’ record, they eventually straightened that out. 

Coming into this game they’ve won six of the last eight games which Curry missed, taking down the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and Cavaliers.

Even if the home side allow their top names to rest, the likes of Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga can still make a difference. 

Right now, the spread is delicately poised and could move in either direction, depending on the Warriors’ fitness. 

However, given the state of this Mavs side and the talent on the opposition, the champions look good for a comfortable win.

The Mavs’ defensive record mixed with their paltry Luka-less scoring returns make the Warriors -9 at 10/11 look like a good bet in this spot. 

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