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NBA Mavericks at Rockets

February 15, 2007

NBA Basketball - Dallas Mavericks (-2, 183) at Houston Rockets 8:00 PM EST

Tracy McGradyThe Houston front office probably wonders on a regular basis about relocating these days. That is not to say fan support is not good and the stadium deal works just fine, it's just the fact they have the fourth best record in the NBA and the best they can show for it right now is third place in their highly competitive division. Moving out and not having to face the other Texas teams would sure make life easier for the Rockets.

Like all franchises, you have to live in the here and now, thus tonight is another opportunity to take a shot at the best team in basketball, Dallas. The Mavericks have assembled another long winning streak, this time working on eight and are 16-1 since January 9, with 9-7-1 ATS record.

Another remarkable aspect of Dallas play is how they have performed on the road. The Mavs are tied with Phoenix at 19-6 for the best road, which is all the more impressive when realizing they lost the first two times they played as a visitor this season. Unfortunately for bettors, Mark Cuban's team gets a lot of respect, often too much and they are only 12-11-1 against the spread.

Houston has come out this season and been a tremendous home team. Even with Yao Ming injured for some time, they are 19-6 in the home hardwood, which is fourth best in the NBA. The Rockets also own the third best point differential on the home court at +9.8. With all this success is difficult to fathom they are 24th against the spread at 10-14-1 ATS. Where the mild deception comes in is almost half (9) of the wins have been by 14 or more points.

This will already be the final regular season meeting between these teams with each winning and covering on the home court. Houston has not enjoyed themselves in recent times against the Mavs with a 2-6 record at the Toyota Center. In fact the Rockets have not placed many smiles on backers with 2-11 ATS record in home games vs. division opponents over the last two seasons.

This is an important game for Houston who is a 2-point home underdog at sportsbook.com. A win would be significant for a variety of reasons, most of all as an interruption of the Mavericks' incredible roll and keep them on even footing splitting the season series. Another is continued confidence, having 34 wins at the All-Star break would be as many as they had all last season. The challenge will be not be simple as Houston is just 5-13 ATS after 2 or more consecutive wins this season.

Dallas could hardly be more confident with their leader Dirk Nowitzki. Avery Johnson has transformed a run and gun team into one that still shoots well, but now is 4th in points allowed at 92.8. This team can play a variety of styles and is 21-10 ATS versus good defensive teams like the Rockets that allow less then 91 points a game.

Both teams expended a great deal of effort in winning last game, yet should have no problem going full throttle in last game before break. This will be just the third time Jeff Van Gundy's team will be a home underdog and they are 13-7-1 ATS with a day between games. Dallas is just 11-10 ATS after failing to cover a spread.

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