March 26th 2013 - Posted 5:20 PM Eastern Time

Take Dallas Mavericks PK against LA Clippers risking 4 Units (9:35 PM)

Tonight's game between the the Clippers and Mavericks is a crucial one for Dallas. As it stands right now, the Mavericks are currently just two games behind the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference and can no longer afford to simply play .500 basketball. With the season drawing to an end, teams are being forced to play hard in order to either advance their seeding for the playoffs or in Dallas' case, simply get in.

Tonight would be considered nearly a "must win" for Dallas especially with the Lakers losing at Golden State last night. Defense is going to have to be the focus of the Mavericks tonight if they are going to have a shot at beating the Clippers. Dallas is currently allowing 102.3 points per game on average, however the bright spot in that statistic is that Dallas themselves are scoring an average of 104 points per game!

The Clippers have been a force to be reckoned with this season but over the last month it appears that they are kind of just waiting for the playoffs to begin. Clippers already have their post season ticket punched and have no real way to up their current seeding so simply resting players, avoiding injuries and just trying to come into the playoffs healthy has been the mentality of the Clippers. And that has showed in some of their recent performances given the fact they they are just barely over the .500 mark in the last month.

The Clippers' bench will also be tested tonight and will need to come up big if LA wants to win this game. Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are game-time decisions due to recent injuries. CP3 will likely play but won't be 100% and guard Eric Bledsoe will surely be watching his minutes tonight due to a recent calf injury. He played 10 minutes against Brooklyn Saturday night and totaled 7 points, 2 rebounds and only 1 assist. He will likely play limited minutes against Dallas to avoid aggravating his calf.

If Dallas gets a lead in this game I would expect LA to pull back a little bit and possibly accept the loss. It's also worth noting that the Clippers have dropped their last 2 games on the road 107-92 to Denver and 116-101 to Sacramento! The motivation and desire to win this game obviously lies with the Mavericks. Dallas has so much more to gain from a win tonight than the Clippers and with all the nagging injuries that the Clippers players are dealing with, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see LA rest some of the starters or only allow them limited minutes. The Clippers could play the role of spoiler tonight but I don't think that they will at the risk of their players' health.

Some other trends worth considering:

- The Clippers are only 3-9 ATS in the last 12 meetings with Dallas.

- The Clippers are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings when playing in Dallas.

- The Mavericks are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600,

- The Mavericks are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 games vs. Western Conference teams

- The Mavericks are 25-10 ATS in their last 35 games.


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