Blazers vs. Mavericks: The Statistical Breakdown

Since Dallas will provide the first-round playoff opposition for the Trail Blazers this year we're starting the proceedings with a comparative look at the two teams statistically.  Caveat:  Some of these numbers reflect games through April 12th.  The Dallas-New Orleans and Portland-Golden State games were not factored in to these categories.  The difference will be negligible.

PACE

 

Mavericks

Blazers

Pace

93.4  (18th)

90.4  (30th)

The Blazers play a low-pace, possession-oriented game.  Everybody knows that.  The Mavs do play faster and looser but the stylistic clash is not extreme.  The Mavs aren't the Warriors or Knicks.  They'll push but they'll not overwhelm the Blazers with speed.

OFFENSE

 

Mavericks

Blazers

Points

100.0  (13th)

96.3 (23rd)

Fast Break Points

14.4  (11th)

10.0 (29th)

Points in Paint

36.7 (29th)

40.9 (18th)

Offensive Efficiency

106.4  (8th)

105.2 (10th)

Field Goals Made/Game

37.4 (13th)

36.1 (25th)

Field Goal Attempts

78.8 (24th)

80.5 (19th)

Field Goal Percentage

47.4% (5th)

44.9% (24th)

Three-Pointers Made

7.8  (8th)

6.3  (14th)

Three-Point Attempts

21.5 (5th)

18.2 (12th)

Three-Point Percentage

36.4% (11th)

34.1% (23rd)

Free Throws Made

17.4  (26th)

17.9  (18th)

Free Throw Attempts

22.4  (27th)

22.3  (28th)

Free Throw Percentage

77.6%  (7th)

80.4%  (3rd)

Effective Field Goal %

52.4%  (4th)

48.7%  (22nd)

True Shooting Percentage

56.3%  (4th)

53.4%  (19th)

This runs about as you would expect.  Dallas scores more overall, scores more on the break, shoots and hits a bunch of jumpers.  They trade far more heavily on threes and shoot them far more successfully than the Blazers do.  They hold large advantages in Field Goal Percentage, Effective Field Goal Percentage, and True Shooting Percentage, the latter of which cannot be overcome by Portland's slight advantage from the foul line.  The Blazers make bank in the paint.  They also depend on getting up more shots to make up for their lack of distance shooting and overall percentage.   Dallas will have the advantage if the game is pretty and contact-free.  Portland will have the advantage if it gets gritty and depends on brute force.  The onus is on the Blazers to force the Mavericks out of their game because Portland won't come close to winning in a straight-up shooting contest.

Click through for a look at defense, rebounding, and other stats.

DEFENSE

 

Mavericks

Blazers

Points Allowed

96.1  (10th)

94.7  (6th)

Fast Breaks Pts Allowed

13.8  (16th)

11.3  (3rd)

Points in Paint Allowed

41.7  (19th)

39.9  (10th)

Defensive Efficiency

102.2  (10th)

103.3  (13th)

FG Made Allowed

36.6  (12th)

35.3  (7th)

FG Attempts Allowed

81.1  (15th)

75.6  (1st)

FG Percentage Allowed

45.1%  (8th)

46.7%  (20th)

3PT Made Allowed

6.2  (11th)

6.4  (15th)

3PT Attempts Allowed

18.1  (17th)

17.6  (13th)

3PT Percentage Allowed

34.3%  (8th)

36.6%  (22nd)

Free Throw Att Allowed

22.4  (5th)

22.9  (6th)

Eff. Field Goal % Allowed

48.9%  (9th)

50.9%  (21st)

The top of this chart shows some good news for the Blazers.  They appear to hit the Mavericks at crucial points:  not allowing many overall points, not allowing fast breaks, being able to throttle an already-anemic paint attack for Dallas, not allowing that many shots, period.  The bad news comes at the bottom of the chart and it's significant.  For all the Blazers control the pace and limit opportunities, they still give up good percentages overall, ranking 20th or below in the league in Field Goal Percentage Allowed, Three Point Percentage Allowed, and thus Effective Field Goal Percentage Allowed.  Containing Dallas on the break may not be a problem.  Containing them in the halfcourt could be.  If the Blazers can't cover Dallas' threes the Mavs will break Portland's backs with them, not to mention spreading the court so far that nothing else will be coverable either.  This is not a team against whom you can shut down the middle and call it good.

REBOUNDING

 

Mavericks

Blazers

Off. Rebounds/Game

9.6  (28th)

12.1  (5th)

Off. Rebound Percentage

24.2%  (25th)

29.4%  (4th)

Def. Rebounds/Game

31.8  (7th)

27.1  (29th)

Def. Rebound Percentage

74.7%  (10th)

71.9%  (25th)

Off. Rebounds Allowed/Game

10.8  (15th)

10.6  (12th)

Off.  Rebound % Allowed

25.3%  (10th)

28.1%  (25th)

Def. Rebounds Allowed/Game

29.9  (12th)

29.0  (3rd)

Def. Rebound % Allowed

75.8%  (25th)

70.6%  (4th)

Dallas doesn't bother too much with offensive rebounding.  They have a couple of good O-rebounders in Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion but in general they speak with their made shots, not putbacks.  If you see the Mavs grabbing tons of offensive boards you know something is going really wrong for the Blazers.  Either that or they're trying to make bank off of Portland's shaky defensive rebounding by sending extra men to the glass, figuring the Blazers are a low risk to fast break.  If that happens Portland should show them the NEW Blazers, turning on the afterburners and teaching them to get back.  On the other hand the Mavericks are pretty good defensive rebounders.  That could inhibit a couple of the Blazers' best offensive tricks:  getting offensive rebound putbacks and/or extra possessions.  One of the main issues for Portland will be maintaining credibility on the offensive glass while simultaneously keeping the Mavs from fast breaking.

TURNOVERS, STEALS, BLOCKS, and ASSISTS

 

Mavericks

Blazers

Turnovers/Game

13.8  (15th)

12.7  (1st)

Turnover Percentage

13.3%  (21st)

12.2%  (5th)

Opponent TO’s/Game

13.3  (23rd)

15.5  (4th)

Opponent TO Percentage

12.7%  (17th)

15.2%  (2nd)

Steals/Game

6.8  (23rd)

8.1  (4th)

Steal Percentage

6.4%  (22nd)

7.9%  (3rd)

Opponent Steals/Game

7.6  (23rd)

6.8  (3rd)

Opponent Steal Percentage

7.3%  (27th)

6.6%  (8th)

Blocks/Game

4.3  (23rd)

4.4  (21st)

Block Percentage

5.3%  (23rd)

5.8%  (16th)

Opponent BLK/Game

3.7  (2nd)

4.1  (4th)

Opponent BLK Percentage

4.7%  (2nd)

5.1%  (5th)

Assists/Game

23.7  (3rd)

21.2  (16th)

Assist Per FGM

0.634  (2nd)

0.588  (13th)

Assist/Turnover Ratio

1.717  (3rd)

1.673 (7th)

Opponent Assists/Game

20.6  (10th)

19.0  (3rd)

Opponent Assist Per FGM

0.562  (10th)

0.539  (4th)

Opponent Assist/TO Ratio

1.542  (16th)

1.227  (1st)

Here's another place the Blazers see a ray of hope.  The Mavericks don't force turnovers and the Blazers don't make them.  Portland's possession-fest won't be threatened here.  On the other side the Blazers force a ton of turnovers and the Mavericks, while hardly careless, are prone to giving up the ball.  This is Portland's clearest, most unadulterated advantage.  Neither team blocks shots or gets their shot blocked much, so that's a non-factor other than the suggestion that the Blazers should consider driving the lane and testing Dallas' ability to throw them back.  The assists battle pits strength against strength, as Dallas passes the ball effectively but Portland, between turnovers and wing length, seldom allows it.  The ease with which Dallas is scoring, particularly whether they're forced to go one-on-one to get their points, should be another strong indicator of success or failure.

Overall the stats confirm the instinctive impression of this series:  the Blazers have their work cut out for them and will have to seize opportunities and throw the Mavericks off of their game in order to win.  Stacked up in a straight battle Dallas' offense will almost certainly beat Portland's defense.  If the Blazers are going to win this series they'll need to take full advantage of rebounding and turnovers, controlling the in-between moments as much as the pure offensive-defensive matchups.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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