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NBA playoffs odds, picks – Chicago Tribune

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After falling to a 0-3 series deficit, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally came away with a win in Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks.

Despite foul trouble, Karl-Anthony Towns had a much better offensive outing, while Anthony Edwards came one assist shy of a triple-double (29/10/9).

Can Dallas close out the series on the road, or will the Timberwolves extend the series to a sixth game?

Let’s take a closer look at Thursday night’s Game 5 in Minneapolis.

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves odds

  • Spread: Mavericks +4.5 (-105), Timberwolves (-115)
  • Moneyline: Mavericks +155, Timberwolves -190
  • Total: Over 209.5 (-115), Under 209.5 (-105)

Odds via BetMGM

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves prediction & pick

(8:30 p.m. ET Thursday, TNT)

Mavericks center Dereck Lively II has been one of the NBA’s most impactful rookies this season, averaging 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on an outrageous 74.7% shooting from the field, but he has a questionable designation ahead for Game 5 after suffering a scary-looking head and neck injury in Game 3.

If we assume Lively misses Game 5, then the edge goes to Minnesota at home. The Wolves dominated inside in Game 4, winning the points-in-the-paint battle by 10. A large portion of that can be attributed to Lively’s absence.

Dallas does not have any other player on its roster who is as effective on the glass and as a rim protector — two areas it can’t afford to lack in against an elite slasher like Edwards and Minnesota’s towering frontcourt.

Dereck Lively II is questionable for the Mavericks in Game 5.
Dereck Lively II is questionable for the Mavericks in Game 5. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Furthermore, Lively is the Mavericks’ best lob threat, which is a crucial part of their offensive attack. They spam pick-and-rolls with Luka Doncic at the top of the key and force Gobert to make a decision to step up or fall back. Without Lively, Gobert feels more confident stepping up.

The Mavericks have been successful deploying Lively and Daniel Gafford in nearly equal minutes. Having fresh legs at the center position is imperative for them against the Wolves. Gafford looked gassed at times during his extra minutes in Game 4, which could happen again on Thursday.

Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell are unsuitable replacements for Lively against Minnesota’s uber-physical duo of Towns and Gobert, offering little in terms of rim protection and offensive rebounding.

If Lively is sidelined again, lay the points with Minnesota at home in a win-or-go-home scenario.

Pick: Timberwolves -4.5 (-112 at FanDuel)



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