First of all, Portland leads the season series this year. L.A. also has a distinct advantage over Dirk Nowitski, as L.A. is one of the leaders in the NBA in points and THE LEADER in alley-oop dunks (received) this season (L.A. had 52 last time I checked). We also got "The Answer", Gerald Wallace, in a trade to Charlotte for Center Joel Pryzbilla. Since Wallace has started playing for Portland, he has racked up promising numbers; he also brings a lot of hustle to this Portland team. Wesley Mathews and Rudy Fernandez are exceptionally good at the three-point shot, and Andre Miller brings a veteran knowledge to the table as well as great leadership and toughness.
The Blazers have made the playoffs three years in a row, but have never made it past the second round in that space of time. In his first year as Trailblazers head coach, Nate McMillan had to manage the remnants of the late 1990's "Jail Blazers", but still did exceptionally well. He has coached well since he arrived at Portland, and I trust that he will lead the Blazers at least to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks have not made it past the first round in however-many years. I am confident that they will fall to the Blazers in six or fewer.