The Dallas Mavericks face off against the Utah Jazz on Saturday at noon. Luka Doncic’s calf injury has cast a pall on what would otherwise be a fun matchup (listen to our own Kirk Henderson talk with injury expert Jeff Stotts here). But basketball goes on, and the NBA world has thoughts on who will win this series. In order to give you a sense of how the NBA media thinks the series will go, below is a wrap-up of their predictions ahead of the series:
For the Win (USA Today): Mavericks over Jazz
For the Win’s Charles Curtis doesn’t have much to say about the matchup, but he does have the Mavericks defeating the Jazz. He then has the Mavericks losing to the Phoenix Suns in five in the second round.
538: Jazz over Mavericks
538 has the matchup with Utah as basically a toss up. Being the statistical site they are, 538 actually gives a percentage, and have Dallas with a 49% chance to make the second round. They use full-strength and current ratings, so Luka Doncic’s calf injury factors into their projection. Their full-strength rating favors the Mavericks (1655) over the Jazz (1653), while their current rating has Utah a significant favorite (1654 to 1622).
The Sporting News: Mavericks over Jazz
Using a committee approach, The Sporting News picks the Mavericks to defeat the Jazz in the first round. Five writers picked the series, and three favored the Mavericks to win the series. All five predicted the series to go at least six games.
Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd: Mavericks over Jazz
Cowherd thinks the series is hard to pick because of Luka’s calf injury, but ultimately thinks the Mavericks will prevail:
“The last couple times they played, the Mavs won, and I think the Mavs are better. I think they’re a better defensive team right now. I’m going to go with the Mavs right now and say, Luka misses one game and not any more than that.”
ESPN: Mavericks over Jazz
The majority of the experts at ESPN are picking the Mavericks over the Jazz. The tally ended up being 12-7 in favor of the Mavericks. Tim Legler has Dallas winning in seven games, while Kirk Goldsberry has Utah in seven. Tim MacMahon picked the Jazz to win in six.
The Athletic: Mavericks over Jazz
The Athletic asked one each of an anonymous scout, coach, and executive from the NBA who they think will win, and all three picked the Mavericks to advance. The scout and the coach picked Dallas in six, while the executive went with the Mavericks in seven games. The scout was especially high on the Mavericks’ defense:
Their defense, especially in the last 75 or 80 percent of the year, has been terrific, and I think they’ll have some good adjustments and coverages throughout the series for Utah.