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NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Wednesday night's NBA action.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction: Can the Mavs Cash the Upset on Dirk Nowitzki Jersey Retirement Night?

When: Wednesday, January 5, 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Click Here for Mavericks vs Warriors Odds

To properly talk about this game and the motivation that Dallas will have to come out with their best effort of the season, we need to step back and appreciate the greatest Mav of all time and one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Dirk Nowitzki is, in a phrase, one of a kind. Seven feet tall and maybe the greatest jump shooter to ever live, he had one of the signature unguardable shots in NBA history, right up there with Kareem’s sky hook and Jordan’s fadeaway. The one-legged fall back J that is now commemorated on the court he called home was not a thing anyone could stop, but it also wasn’t enough to bring him to basketball immortality.

No, that didn’t happen until 2011, when Dirk finally shed the soft European label that had dogged him his whole career and put the Mavs on his back en route to the most (justifiably) celebrated championship of this era. He kept playing even after that year, all the way until he could shepherd a young Luka Doncic in his rookie season, properly passing the torch as only he could.

That’s the backdrop of this game tonight, as Nowitzki’s jersey will be retired and ascend into the rafters in Big D. The ceremony is catching Dallas at the right time, having won three in a row and fully healthy with the exception of Kristaps Porzingis, and Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell did an admirable job of filling in for him against the Nuggets on Monday night.

As for the Warriors, they are still sitting atop their perch in the West but are also just 7-9 against the spread in their last 16 games. Klay Thompson will return soon, but for the moment at least, they are not the same dominant team they were to begin the season. Given the points you’re getting at home by taking a good team with a star player just now rounding into form, this is an easy call. Go with Dirk, and go with Dallas.

Mavericks vs. Warriors Pick

  • Mavericks +5.5 (-105)
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Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction

When: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for Pacers vs Nets Odds

This is about as close as the Nets have come to a crisis point in the two and a half years since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed on the dotted line.

Has it really gotten that bad? Of course not. Other teams would kill to be tied for second place after three losses in a row, even with their two stars healthy. But there is an unease about Brooklyn right now that is hard to miss. They somewhat no-showed against Memphis two nights after losing to the Clippers without Paul George and four nights after getting embarrassed by Joel Embiid. All three games have come at home.

Perhaps the impending return of Kyrie Irving – set to make his season debut tonight – has unnerved the group. Whatever it is, this is still a team with more talent than just about anyone and they’re about to get the third leg of the tripod back.

That wouldn’t normally cause me to give nearly double-digit points on the road, but it certainly will considering the opponent. Indiana is still missing half of its healthy rotation and has lost five straight. While their one remaining strength (their size) is the thing that has given Brooklyn fits all year, it won’t be enough to hang with a team that feels like it just needs a get well game to get back on track.

That game is tonight. Give the points on the road.

Pacers vs. Nets Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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