Trail Blazers-Mavericks Preview
After improving their road record, the Dallas Mavericks will
next try to change their recent fortunes at home.
A visit from the Portland Trail Blazers might help.
As they get set to begin a three-game stay at the American
Airlines Center, the Mavericks will attempt to avoid their longest
losing streak there in three seasons by taking advantage of the
Blazers’ struggles away from home Saturday night.
Dallas (16-11) started 2-5 on the road but recorded its fifth
win in six games there Friday, 104-97 over Minnesota. Dirk Nowitzki
scored a season-high 33 points and the Mavericks forced 28
turnovers – their most in a game in nearly eight years – while
finishing 2-1 on their three-game trip.
Jason Kidd also nearly had his first double-double of the season
(eight points, 10 assists) after missing seven games because of a
strained right calf.
“He’s a big part of our heart and soul. When we’re without him,
we can win some games but we’re not the same team,” coach Rick
Dallas, though, hasn’t fared as well lately at home, losing
three of five since a seven-game win streak. The Mavericks, though,
are out to avoid a three-game skid at American Airlines as Portland
(15-12) tries to shake its road funk.
The Blazers are 4-9 on the road, with two of those wins coming
against New Orleans, which is a league-worst 2-14 in its building.
Jamal Crawford had a season-best 31 points and eight assists
against the Hornets on Friday to help his team avoid a season
high-tying third straight defeat with a 94-86 victory.
Raymond Felton added 18 points, including four free throws in
the final minute.
“Sometimes it’s not about how you win but the fact that you
win,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We did the things we needed to do
down the stretch.”
While it’s succeeded in New Orleans, Portland has dropped 20 of
its last 25 games in Dallas in the regular season and playoffs. The
Blazers lost all three games there during a 4-2 defeat in last
year’s Western Conference quarterfinals and have dropped five in a
The Blazers could use some help from Dallas native LaMarcus
Aldridge. The forward has cooled off a little since averaging 27.7
points over a six-game stretch, having scored a combined 27 over
the past two games.
Aldridge, though, has usually shined against the Mavericks – his
20.4-point average in the regular season is his best against any
Western Conference foe. He’s also scored 25.2 points per game
during his last five visits to his hometown, including the
Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks during last year’s series
win with 27.3 points per game. A sore right knee caused him to miss
an 84-81 home victory Jan. 4, 2011.
During a rare start, Jason Terry made the clinching basket with
12 seconds remaining and finished with 18 points.
Nowitzki’s presence should help in this game as he’s averaging
28.0 points on 60.6 percent shooting over the last four contests.
The forward has also averaged 25.8 points over his last five
regular-season home games against Portland.
Dallas hasn’t dropped three straight at home since a four-game
skid to open the 2008-09 season.