Team Records: Dallas (33-26) at Portland (28-31)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 750 the Game.
Vegas Line: Dallas -2
Refs: Bill Spooner, Mark Lindsay, Leon Wood.
The Skinny: The Blazers host Dallas in the rubber match of their three game season series Friday. The Mavericks have been very much up and down as of late, winning in Golden State last night but had lost three of their past four going into last night’s game. The Mavericks are pretty much close to full strength this time, unlike last week when Jason Kidd was out with an injury.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers prevailed in OT a week ago in Dallas as Aldridge hit the game winning shot and Felton poured in a season high 30 for Portland’s only OT win this season.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF-Dirk Nowitzki (Germany-14th Season) 21.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.2 APG.
SF-Shawn Marion (UNLV-13th Season)-11 PPG, 7 RPG, 2.1 APG.
C-Brendan Haywood (North Carolina-11th Season)-5.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Delonte West (St. Joseph’s-8th Season)-8.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.4 APG.
PG-Jason Kidd (California-18th Season)-5.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.3 APG.
Player to Watch-Jason Kidd (pictured at right)-I still remember the night pretty vividly, Jason Kidd and his Cal Bears squad upsetting 2-time defending champs Duke in the second round of the 1993 NCAA tournament. It was that night that Jason Kidd announced his arrival on the national stage and more than 19 years later, he still hasn’t left. Kidd is a great rebounder and passer, and has that rare ability to see passing lanes and make passes few could ever fathom. He is an excellent defender on the wings, although he struggles a bit against quicker guards as he has aged. His shooting is streaky at best but that’s not what Jason Kidd has ever been about. He’s a passer, first and foremost and one of the best of his generation. The Hall of Fame likely awaits him when he retires.
Did You Know?: Dirk Nowitzki is 19th all time on the scoring list, just behind Kevin Garnett. He passed Charles Barkley in 20th just a few weeks ago.
Song of the Day: “You Shook Me All Night Long” by ACDC-A few years ago a Dallas reporter asked Dirk to show him the most played songs on his IPod. #1 on Dirk’s last was this song. Dirk explained “That one gets me pumped up. I listen to it in the gym, especially, and sometimes before a game. AC/DC just has this raw energy that I try to tap into.” (Link: www.dallasobserver.com/2006-03-30/music/dirk-s-little-secret/full/). Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder), PF Shawne Williams (Foot), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Hip), Probable-SF Nicolas Batum (Quad).
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 last year. 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: Hickson has a monster game. Hickson has to have a big game for Portland to have a chance. This is certainly possible given how he’s been playing lately.
Dallas wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. Dallas is a very good defensive team, giving up only 93 points per game. If they can hold Portland under 90, they should win.