The Portland Trail Blazers weren’t quite dominant, but handily held off a struggling Mavericks squad 107-93 Friday on the road in Dallas. The win improves the Blazers to a season-best five games over .500 at 27-22, currently sitting at 7th place in the Western Conference standings.
It seemed to take about two and half quarters for Portland to find its rhythm, as both sides looked sluggish for a good deal of the contest, but the Blazers jumped out early in the final frame and ran away with it to escape with a relatively easy win.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (29 points) and C.J. McCollum (20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds).
The Mavericks were led by Harrison Barnes (21 points, 7 rebounds) and Dennis Smith Jr. (18 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds).
- Get EDucated. Ed Davis has been a beast off the bench lately for the Blazers and tonight he put up his second straight double-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. Dallas likes to go for stretches with the 39-year-old Dirk Nowitzki at center and Davis just straight overwhelmed them with his physicality. Along with owning the boards, he had a share of highlight dunks to go along with it. Career game from Ed.
- Dennis the Menace. The brightest spot of the entire Mavs roster has to be the young rookie Dennis Smith Jr., who is quickly establishing himself as quite an exciting player to watch. Like Lillard, he is a highly clever scorer and has sneaky athleticism, which he will get a chance to showcase next month in the dunk contest. For the second straight game against Portland, Smith was the best player for Dallas.
- Coming into his own. He didn’t necessarily have a spectacular line, but Zach Collins continues to be an impressive rookie in his own right. In his 15 minutes the 20-year-old had 9 points, including 2-2 from deep, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block and was +10 on the floor, unsurprisingly mostly alongside Davis. Collins just looks to usually be in the right place at the right time and brings all those proverbial intangibles that don’t show up in the box score. This young man has a future.
The Blazers will get the weekend off before heading down to Los Angeles Tuesday to take on the Clippers in a nationally televised game on TNT - Late tip is set for 7:30 p.m.