LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers are rolling, but that wasn’t the case against the Dallas Mavericks last month.
Aldridge and the Trail Blazers will try to avenge that defeat with their fifth straight win Thursday night against the Mavericks, who may have Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler back.
Portland (40-19) is averaging 108.5 points during a four-game winning streak, and Aldridge is chipping in with 28.0 and 13.3 rebounds in the last three.
The All-Star forward was impressive again Wednesday, scoring 29 points while Nicolas Batum added 20 with eight assists to help Portland rally for a 98-93 overtime win against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Trail Blazers weren’t as fortunate at Dallas on Feb. 7, blowing an 11-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation and getting outscored 15-5 in overtime of a 111-101 loss. Aldridge had 25 points and 14 rebounds and Damian Lillard scored 26 but missed 12 of 19 from the field.
Batum also struggled in that defeat, missing all eight of his shots and finishing with two points and 10 boards.
Lillard is looking for a bounce-back effort against the Mavericks (40-22) after he missed 12 of 13 attempts, including all seven from 3-point range, to finish with a season-low five points Wednesday. Lillard, who had a carer-high 18 rebounds, totaled 60 points on 50.0 percent shooting over the previous two games.
”The most important thing was that we played the type of basketball we needed to down the stretch to win the game, and I still found a way to impact the game,” Lillard said.
The Blazers are atop the Northwest Division, percentage points ahead of Houston for the third seed in the Western Conference. Expanding that lead may be difficult as they’ve dropped five of seven meetings with Dallas, which could be getting Parsons (ankle) and Chandler (hip) back from injury. Parsons has missed five games and Chandler three and both are with the team at the start of this three-game trip.
Parsons is third on the team with 15.4 points per game, while Chandler ranks among the NBA leaders with 11.7 rebounds.
They were essential to last month’s win over Portland. Parsons had 20 points, nine boards and three steals and Chandler added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Dallas overcame their absences Monday, avoiding a three-game slide as six players scored in double digits to beat New Orleans 102-93.
"That’s why it is a team," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’re a strength-in-numbers type of team."
Having a productive Rajon Rondo at the point also helps. The guard had 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting in his best performance since being suspended one game following a heated exchange of words with Carlisle during a 99-92 win over Toronto on Feb. 24.
"He’s done a great job," Carlisle said. "Again, he’s learning what it takes to play with our players and vice versa. We’re on a path where we’re going to figure it out.
"He’s looking to be aggressive. He’s looking to make aggressive paint and rim attacks, and when he can finish it’s great and when he draws one or two guys, he can find the right guy. That’s where his special ability is."
Rondo missed the last matchup with Portland due to an Achilles injury.