Team Records: Portland (34-16) at Dallas (34-18)
Game Info: 5:30 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Dallas -2.5
Refs: Bill Kennedy, Derrick Collins, LeRoy Richardson
The Skinny: The Blazers look to win their third straight as they travel to Dallas for the first half of a Texas back to back. Dallas has won four of their last five games. However, the Mavs are without Rondo, which means Felton has to play and we all know how well that usually goes.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers broke open a close game in the third to win 108-87. It was Portland’s largest margin of victory over Dallas since 1998.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany, 17th season) – 18.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2 APG
SF: Chandler Parsons (Florida, 4th Season) – 15.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.3 APG
C: Tyson Chandler (Dominguez (HS), 14th Season) – 10.9 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 1.3 APG
SG: Monta Ellis (Lanier (HS), 10th season) – 20.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.6 APG
PG: JJ Barea (Northeastern, 9th Season) – 7.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1. APG
Player to Watch: Monta Ellis (pictured at right) – Monta has it all, indeed he certainly can at times. After starting his career as a scorer and high volume shooter, Monta has expanded his game and is now an underrated passer. He still shoots, quite a lot, with 17.5 attempts per game and does a good job of attacking, hitting occasionally from deep and drawing fouls. He’s not a very good defender but that’s not why the Mavs got him. They got him because they can score points in bunches.
Did You Know?: Rick Carlisle recorded his 500th career win as head coach against Portland on 2/6/2013.
Song of the Day: “Cuppycake Song” by Cuppycake. Felton’s jam. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder)
Dallas: Out-PG Rajon Rondo (Orbital Fracture)
Re-Evaluating Dallas: Fun with Mark Cuban
There may be no more polarizing owner in the NBA than Mark Cuban but, in my view, there may be no more fun owner in the NBA than Cuban. You may deny it, but Cuban is living the dream. He made his money and now he’s enjoying the fruits of his labor, hanging out with sports stars, being a true fan and dropping $110k on a celebration at a Miami nightclub the night they won the title a few years ago. He’s mellowed a bit over the years but he is still that fun loving, polarizing, ref baiting figure of old, living life and just enjoying the ride.
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 100 points. The Mavs are a bad defensive team but if they can hold Portland under 100 somehow, they should be able to pull it out.