Mavericks vs. Warriors Preview: Offenses Should Struggle Despite Star-Power

Matt Moore previews Sunday's NBA game between the Mavericks and Warriors, including betting odds and a prediction.

Mavericks vs. Warriors Odds

Mavericks Odds +3.5
Warriors Odds -3.5
Over/Under 219
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Mavericks hope to consider themselves a sleeper danger in the West but are coming off a disappointing loss to the Jazz on Friday night. The Warriors are just looking to stay at the 2-seed until Draymond Green can return before the postseason.

Can the Mavericks’ stout defense keep the Splash Brothers at bay? Let’s break down Mavs-Jazz.

A Healthy Matchup for Mavericks’ Doncic

Frank Ntilikina is questionable. Marquis Chriss is doubtful. Theo Pinson and Trey Burke are out, as is Tim Hardaway Jr.

There were some meaningful outcomes from the Mavericks’ game vs. the Jazz. First, the crunch-time offense ground to a halt vs. the Jazz switch as Luka Doncic was unable to get the best of Rudy Gobert. Second, the players the Mavericks acquired for Kristaps Porzingis had some of their best games of the entire season.

Spencer Dinwiddie was a dynamic playmaker who generated offense, while Davis Bertans found the three-point shot he’s been missing all season.

If Bertans can shoot as he did two seasons ago, it dramatically changes what the returns on that trade are and can significantly help the Mavericks’ mediocre offense.

On offense, the Mavs don’t excel vs. a switching defense in pick and roll like what the Warriors use. They’re 44th percentile league-wide vs. switch, but their offense is slightly below average to begin with.

But what’s interesting is they perform better vs. switch than vs. drop coverage. The Warriors, without Green on the court, play a healthy mix of switch and drop coverage. Doncic should tear that apart.

However, this season Doncic has actually really struggled scoring against drop coverage. After being 73rd percentile or better the past two season shooting against drop coverage, he’s just 36th percentile this season.

He’s much better vs. switch coverage, which is what the Warriors run the most. That will determine a lot of this matchup.

It should be noted that Dallas is 18th in offense this season vs. top-10 defenses per Cleaning The Glass, but fifth in spread differential at +1.1.

The Mavericks’ defense has been better than expected all season, with the fifth-best defense, schedule-adjusted, per They have moved to switch coverage more since Porzingis was traded.

Warriors Still Missing Green

Green (back), Andre Iguodala (back) and James Wiseman (knee) are out. Klay Thompson is questionable with an illness.

The Warriors have slipped to 11th defensively since Green went out with his back injury, a fall that at once underscores how good the rest of the team is defensively but also how much he means. Green is ostensibly the difference in the Warriors being “really good” and “elite.”

But their defense isn’t the concern here.

The Warriors, since Green went out, are 22nd in offense vs. top-10 defenses, and -4.5 in spread differential per Cleaning The Glass. For the season, they’re the No. 1 defense against teams with the best defense, but just 15th offensively.

Mavericks-Warriors Pick

We have two defenses that remain pretty good and two offenses that struggle against good defenses. For all the expected firepower in this matchup, I think this is much more of a slugfest.

Bear in mind that Dallas plays at a glacial pace. It is last in overall pace and 29th in offensive length of possession at

The under in games without Porzingis for the Mavericks this season is 18-8 (69.2%). The over in Warriors games without Draymond Green is 14-12, not enough to counteract the profile of the Mavericks and their struggles offensively.

The Mavericks and Warriors are both good teams relative to the league vs. switching defenses. Dallas is 11th vs. switching defenses, Golden State ninth. But the overall league average efficiency vs. switching defense is significantly lower (.930) compared to the overall league average in pick and roll (.948).

I have this modeled at 212 vs. the 219 line. Based on halfcourt and transition matchups, I have this Warriors -9.3 for full season figures, but based on an overall power rating model I have it Warriors -5.3. Green’s absence moves it a full three points.

The split in those two projections means I think the spread is a stay-away, though I do like the Warriors’ moneyline at -146.

Pick: Best bet under 219, lean Warriors ML -146