Dallas Mavericks vs LA Lakers Series Odds, Predictions and Free Picks – 2011 NBA Western Conference Semifinals Betting

2011 NBA Western Conference Playoffs – Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Series Odds, Predictions, Free Picks and Preview: Two Western Conference heavyweights face off as the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers meet the Dallas Mavericks. The two teams are perennial 50-plus game winners, and they spent most of the 2011 season battling for the No. 2 seed. The Lakers won that battle, but the Mavericks have a chance to win the war by knocking off the champs and moving on to the conference finals. The Lakers have been installed as a -345 favorite(odds at SBG Global Sportsbook) to win the series.

Dallas avoided another first round upset by knocking off a very tough Portland team in six games. Meanwhile, the Lakers overcame their own disinterest and a disappearing act from Pau Gasol to dispatch the New Orleans Hornets in six games. The legacies of two of today’s greats are on the line in this series, along with a chance to continue to play for a title. If the Lakers don’t give the Mavericks their undivided attention, a three-peat just isn’t going to happen.

There are plenty of star players on both teams, but the headliners are Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. Bryant is the best closer in the game today, and at this stage in his career, rings are all that he cares about as he attempts to solidify his place among the best in NBA history. Nowitzki on the other hand is still trying to shed the label the “soft” label that has been given to him ever since Dallas coughed up a 2-0 series lead to the Miami Heat in the 2006 finals. He took a step in the right direction with his 33-point performance to eliminate the Trail Blazers, but the bottom line is that he needs to knock of the Lakers.

Looking at all the matchups, Dallas has the edge at point guard and power forward, while the Lakers have a size and length advantage, along with the Bryant factor. The ageless wonder Jason Kidd can still make any offense run like a well-oiled machine, and Nowitzki  is going to go for 25-plus a night no matter how the Lakers plan for him. That being said, Paul Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom pose a huge problem for Dallas. If all three play to their potential, which can be a big if sometimes, the Mavericks are going to get killed on the boards. Dallas center Tyson Chandler is the best true big man the team has had in several years, but he can’t do it alone.

While Los Angeles has the edge up front, the Mavericks could give them trouble from the outside. Nowitzki can pull away one of the Lakers post players with his jumper, and Kidd has been knocking down 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip in the postseason. Dallas has added firepower from Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic, and even Shawn Marion can step out and knock down shots from beyond the arc. Outside shooting is the one thing that the Mavericks do consistently better than the Lakers, and if they get hot, they could give Los Angeles fits.

That being said, scoring from underneath the basket is much easier than scoring from 25 feet away, and the Lakers will be doing most of their damage from in the paint. Gasol has a tendency to shy away from contact, but the Mavs don’t have the bodies to push him around. Even if Chandler can contain Bynum, Odom is going to be free to dominate the offensive glass. In the end, the Lakers have too much height, too much championship experience, and they have a proven closer to turn to in Bryant. For all his talent, Nowitzki just doesn’t have the killer instinct to carry Dallas past Los Angeles.

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers Win in 6 Games

NBA Playoffs Series Odds
Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers -345
Dallas Mavericks +285

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