Team Records: Dallas (37-39) at Portland (33-43)
Game Info: 6 p.m., TV on KGW, Radio on 1190 AM/102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Dallas -3.5
Refs: Bennett Salvatore, David Guthrie, Derek Richardson
The Skinny: The Blazers look to end their seven game skid with their only remaining game against a non-playoff opponent as they face the Mavericks at home on Sunday night Dallas was essentially eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to the Lakers a few nights ago.
Last Time They Met: Dallas held off a furious Portland charge late as they defeated the Blazers in a hard fought game down in Dallas.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany, 15th season) – 17.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
SF: Shawn Marion (UNLV, 14th season) – 11.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
C: Chris Kaman (Central Michigan, 10th Season) – 10.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, .8 APG
SG: OJ Mayo (USC, 5th season) – 15.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.4 APG
PG: Mike James (Duquesne, 11th season) – 5.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 3.1 APG
Player to Watch: Chris Kaman (pictured at right) – Its hard to believe Chris Kaman was once an all star the way he is playing of late. He has had a decent season when healthy and he has been healthy more than not this year. Kaman is a good midrange scorer, but most of his value is on defense. He is a good low-post defender and a reasonably strong shot blocker and rebounder. Kaman might not be Dallas’s best player but he’s a pest for sure.
Did You Know?: Dirk needs 59 points to become the 17th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points.
Song of the Day: “That’ll be the Day” by Buddy Holly-One of my favorite songs and a reminder that although today might not be the day for either of these teams to make a playoff run, hopefully that day will come. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles), SF Nicolas Batum (Shoulder).
Dallas: Out-C Chris Kaman (Concussion), Questionable-SG Vince Carter (Illness).
Re-Evaluating Dallas: End of an Era
When the final buzzer sounded in LA this week, it marked the end of more than just one game, but the likely end of Dallas’s run as an NBA contender. This year will be the first year Dallas has missed the playoffs since the 1999-2000 season, a run which included a surprise NBA title and firmly established the Mavs as a team to fear in the NBA. Whether or not Dirk retires this season (and all indications are he’ll be back for at least one more year), let us all salute Dallas as the most successful era in their franchise’s history comes to an end.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Dallas’s 3 point shooting. The Mavs live and die by the jump shot. Make them attack you inside and they become far less effective. If Portland can do so, they should win.
Dallas wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. The Mavs typically win because of good defense. If they can hold Portland under 90, they will almost certainly prevail tomorrow.