There is always a lot of intrigue surrounding the #4 vs. #5 series. Much of the time, the 4 seed wins because of the home-court advantage.
Well, the Dallas Mavericks were playing at home, but they were playing without one of the league’s top players in Luke Doncic, and the Utah Jazz snuck away with a 99-93 victory over the Mavericks in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
This bodes well for the Jazz, as any time a team can get a road win in the playoffs, it’s a big deal. Granted, the Mavs were without Doncic, but Dallas is still a very capable team without him. Let’s break down the two teams, and we’ll give you our NBA Playoffs Betting prediction on who is going to win the series after Game 1.
Utah Jazz versus Dallas Mavericks: Who Will Win the Series After Game 1
The Doncic Factor
If Luka Doncic is unable to play for a majority of the series, the Dallas Mavericks are in trouble. Even though Spencer Dinwiddie and Doncic’s replacement in the starting lineup, Jalen Brunson, are both capable scorers, they can’t replicate what Doncic does. Combined, those two were 15-39 from the field.
We anticipate Doncic coming back and playing in either Game 2 or Game 3. However, we don’t know what kind of condition he will be in and how his sore calf will affect him.
The Gobert Factor
Even though Gobert didn’t score many points, he still greatly affected the outcome of the game. Even though Dallas tried to take Gobert away from protecting the rim, they weren’t able to do so successfully.
Gobert altered numerous shots, and Dallas was hesitant to attack the rim later in the game. If Gobert continues to be a huge factor on the defensive end of the floor, that will spell doom for Dallas.
After scoring only two points in the first half, Donovan Mitchell exploded for 30 points in the second half. Dallas doesn’t have a go-to defensive stopper, so if Mitchell can continue to put up these kinds of numbers throughout the series, that won’t bode well for Dallas.
You Live by the Three, You Die by the Three
This is the mantra that the Utah Jazz have taken throughout most of the season. When Utah is hitting their threes, and they take a lot of them, they’re hard to beat.
When they’re missing them, they’re very beatable. Utah averages 14.5 made threes per game, and on Saturday night, they were only 7-22 from beyond the arc.
This was one of the rare occasions that Utah won when they didn’t make a lot of threes. If this continues to be a trend, we don’t think they will survive Dallas.
Who Will Win the Series?
Not knowing if and when Luka Doncic will play is the deciding factor in this series. Even if he plays, how healthy will he be?
With the uncertainty surrounding Doncic, we’re going to go out on a limb and pick the Utah Jazz to win the series in six games.
Rudy Gobert will come up big on both ends of the floor, and he’ll be the key to Utah advancing to the second round.
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