One rebuilding squad meets another
The Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks have split the last 15 regular season meetings eight games to seven in the Mavs’ favor. Three of those games have gone into at least one overtime, and all of them have been decided by an average of just five points.
Matchup: Portland (2-1) @ Dallas Mavericks (2-1)
Venue: American Airlines Center, DALLAS, TX.
Time: 5:30 PM PT
Date: Nov. 5, 2012
These two teams have much different looks about them than they’ve had in the past, but that doesn’t mean that the game has lost any of its appeal as they continue to build toward the future.
Game Notes/How They Match Up
The name of the game between these two teams is going to be offense. Both teams average more than 100 points per game, both teams are extremely efficient shooting the long ball and both squads give up about 100 points per game so far this season
The Blazers will have the top three point-per-game players in this matchup, but the Mavs have far better balance the further you travel down their roster.
If one team can finally come up with a great defensive performance, they’ll have the edge when it’s all said and done. However, if both teams stick to their offensive ways, we could see a back-and-forth contest with a lot of points scored in Dallas.
What to Watch: Portland
In the Blazers’ first game of their current road trip, they held on strong almost the entire way against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but ultimately fell apart late conceding the victory. In game two against the Houston Rockets, they fell behind early, but ultimately stormed back and won a hard-fought game in overtime.
Come Saturday, the Blazers are going to need to find the middle ground that will allow them to stay competitive early, yet finish strong late in the contest.
The Mavericks are averaging 106.3 points per game, which is good enough for third in the NBA. They run the second-fastest pace in the league, which means Portland must get out in transition on both offense and defense.
Finding that balance isn’t always easy, but if you want to stay in it for 48 minutes, that’s what this team will have to do against the Mavericks.
What to Watch: Dallas
The Mavericks have put up a lot of points this season, and they’ve been downright deadly from beyond the three-point line.
Dallas is attempting more than 20 shots per game from long distance, and they’ve completed more than 51 percent of them at this point in the season. They’re not afraid to launch the ball, which is unfortunate for their opponents.
Through three games, their most consistent three-point options are Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo and Jae Crowder. They have six players on their roster currently shooting better than 41 percent—five of which are shooting better than 50 percent—but it’s those three who have gotten the most bang for their buck so far this year.
Portland has proven to be a good three-point shooting team as well, so if they can’t stop the Mavs from doing what they do best, they’ll have to join them come Monday night.
Mayo has begun the season on fire, and he’s looking to make this his best year since his first in the league. Wesley Matthews did a solid job of containing the league’s leading scorer in James Harden on Saturday, and he’ll be given the same responsibility this time around with Mayo.
Matthews’ role isn’t limited to just defense, however. The 2-guard is the team’s third-leading scorer with 18.3 points per game, and his three-point shot has been the best on the team throughout the early part of the year.
Matthews is going to be counted upon to score against the Mavs’ high-octane offense, and he could very well have his best offensive performance of the season against Mayo.
The faceoff between Collison and Damian Lillard will be fun to watch, as both point guards have exceeded expectations so far, but the 2-guard position is where this game could be pushed one direction or the other.
Portland: OUT—Elliot Williams
Dallas: OUT—Dirk Nowitzki, QUESTIONABLE—Rodrigue Beaubois
The Trail Blazers have the best offense of any team the Mavs have faced thus far, and as long as Portland can keep it close throughout the contest, their starters should be able to finish strong for their third win of the season.