Two of the NBA’s most impressive teams in this early season have been the 6-3 Dallas Mavericks and the 7-1 Boston Celtics. Dallas has been an elite offensive team so far, while the Celtics are winning with a balanced attack that is top five in efficiency on both ends of the floor.
NBA fans will get a treat on Monday as the Mavericks visit the Celtics (8:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV).
Unfortunately, Celtics’ wing Gordon Hayward fractured his hand on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs and will miss the first of many games for the Celtics on Monday.
Will the Celtics be able to minimize the impact of Hayward’s injury against an upstart Mavs squad? We’ll decide on some major X-factors for the game and then give our Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics predictions and picks.
Will Robert Williams Continue His Inside Dominance?
In the Celtics’ blowout win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, Williams was simply amazing. In a season-high 22 minutes, he totaled 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, six blocks and just two fouls and zero turnovers while making all five of his field-goal attempts. He was significantly better than Spurs All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge in all facets of the game.
The young Boston big man figures to play a key role again in the Mavericks matchup with Enes Kanter still recovering from a knee injury. His performance on Saturday also all but guarantees more minutes.
The big key for Williams is discipline and decision-making. Can he hold himself back from silly fouls and poor decisions with the ball? Against a Dallas frontcourt with finesse players like Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, there is a chance for another huge game for the Celtics’ athletic young big man if he plays focused and smart.
Can the Mavericks Bench Keep Shooting Flames From Three-Point Range?
The Mavericks have had the NBA’s most efficient offense in the early going of the season. The biggest reason for that is the play of sophomore sensation Luka Doncic, who looks like a dark horse MVP candidate so far. Doncic is a wizard with the ball, both as a scorer and passer, who thrives on the threat of being able to do both of those things at an elite level.
What helps Doncic be so successful as a passer is when his teammates make shots. After a cold-shooting start for the Mavs’ bench shooters, they have heated up significantly. Dallas’ reserves combined to shoot 12-of-50 (24 percent) from three-point range in the first three games, but the bench has knocked down 42-of-98 (42.9 percent) from downtown since then.
Dallas has used seven different starting lineups this season, but reserves have played big roles in every game. The Mavericks’ offense hits a different level when their bench comes in to help out Doncic’s all-around game by draining outside shots.
Will the Celtics’ Superior Athleticism Allow For a Significant Turnover Advantage?
The phrase “win the turnover battle, win games” is usually a football expression. However, the Celtics are using that exact formula to get off to a fantastic start this season. Boston has an NBA-best turnover differential of minus-5.6 per game.
In particular, the Celtics are averaging 8.6 steals per game, compared to 4.9 steals for their opponents. Boston has one of the most athletic, versatile defensive teams in the NBA led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and rookie Grant Williams.
Boston’s focus in this game against the Mavericks should be to protect the ball, and to use its speed and length to bother Dallas’ less explosive core on the defensive end.
Our Preview’s Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics Betting Picks & Predictions
Even without Gordon Hayward, the Celtics just have so much length, athleticism and versatility on the wing that they should keep Luka Doncic at least somewhat in check. Also, Boston is so deep at Hayward’s position that losing him won’t be as big of a blow to the team as some might think. I think the Celtics will use their superior athleticism to bother the Mavs in this game.
The Mavericks may need to lean on Kristaps Porzingis a bit more in this game against Boston’s somewhat shallow frontcourt, but I don’t know if he is healthy enough to carry that load at this point in the season. My suggestions for the Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics predictions for this preview are:
- Boston is favored by 4 points with the best of the offshore, online USA betting sites. You should bet on the Celtics -4pts @ -110 with BetOnline or Intertops.
- Hayward was one of the Celtics’ key scorers in the half court, and without him, I expect the team to push the pace a bit more than usual. Also, the over/under for this game is slightly on the low side despite both offenses being among the league’s best. For those reasons, I recommend betting the over 219pts @ best odds of -110 with Intertops or BetOnline.