Team Records: Dallas (12-8) at Portland (17-3)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: TBD
The Skinny: The Blazers look to close out their homestand with a bang as they welcome fellow playoff contender Dallas to town. The Mavericks have surprised a few people with their hot start to the season and are certainly a team to be reckoned with. Mark Cuban would certainly like this group to make one more playoff run before he has his GM blow it up.
Last Season: Dallas won the season series 3-1, including Dallas’s first win in Portland in three years.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany, 16th season) – 20.6 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.5 APG
SF: Shawn Marion (UNLV, 15th season) – 11.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2 APG
C: Samuel Dalembert (Seton Hall, 12th season) – 7.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, .4 APG
SG: Monta Ellis (Lanier (HS), 9th season) – 21.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.6 APG
PG: Jose Calderon (Spain, 9th season) – 11.1 PPG, 2 RPG, 4.9 APG
Player to Watch: Dirk Nowitzki (pictured at right) – Dirk makes no sense as a player, he’s tall but he’s not a great rebounder, nor does he bang inside and his jump shot form shouldn’t be emulated by anyone, ever. Yet, for many years he has been one of the most consistently successful players in the NBA by realizing that just because everyone else does things a certain one doesn’t mean he has to. Dirk has a devastating mid-range jumper and his one-legged fadeaway is both unblockable and extremely frustrating when he nails it over you. He may not be once he once was but he’s still a damn good player and one you have to watch night in and night out.
Did You Know?: Dirk is in 14th place on the all-time scoring list, just ahead of KG and behind Alex English.
Song of the Day: “Ghost Riders in the Sky” the Johnny Cash version-For two reasons, you can never get enough Johnny Cash and it talks about one of Texas’s favorite subjects, cowboys Enjoy:
Portland: Out – PG CJ McCollum (Foot)
Dallas: Out – PG Devin Harris (Foot), C Brendan Wright (Shoulder)
This Dallas team makes no pretense about what they are, an offense first team that on good nights plays just enough defense to win. Dallas relies heavily on streaky outside shooters such as Vince Carter and Monta Ellis. When they are on, they can be deadly but when they are off, it is hard for the Mavericks to win. Dallas has only held opponents under 100 points on defense a few times this year and likely will not do so Saturday night. When they are flowing, the Mavericks can be fun to watch but when they are not, they are a trainwreck. We’ll see which it is tonight.
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.