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Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Preview

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Portland continues on its four-game road trip with a stop in Dallas.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (1-1) at Dallas Mavericks (2-0)

October 27, 2019 - 4:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Jusuf Nurkic (out), Pau Gasol (out)
Mavericks injuries: Dwight Powell (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Mavs Moneyball

The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off their first victory of the season, 122-112 against the Sacramento Kings. Portland struck terror into the hearts of Blazers fans by again opening the game ignoring opponents who wanted to shoot from behind the arc. Fortunately, the defense got better in the second half and the game swung the Blazers’ way.

The Dallas Mavericks are well off the mark, winning their first two games to start the season. Most recently, Dallas defeated the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 123-116 in Dallas. Luka Doncic recorded a triple-double with 24 points, while Kristaps Porzingis poured in 25. Only four Mavericks were in double-digits, so this doesn’t appear to be a team built for balanced scoring. Still, folks in Dallas are shooting for a playoff spot this year, and they certainly have their first two stars to build on.

What to watch for

  • Will the Blazers chase opponents off of the 3-point line? Blazers opponents are shooting an absurd 47.8% from deep over the first two games. Of course, NBA teams are going to shoot a high percentage when you leave them wide open. The good news is that Portland showed at times in the second half against Sacramento that they are capable of defending against the three. The bad news is that for the majority of the first two games the Blazers looked like they had little interest in doing so.
  • Doncic and Porzingis. In their first game together, the duo combined for 57 points. In their second game, they “only” scored 49 between them. These guys are pretty good. Doncic and Porzingis are going to get their points, so the trick is to not let them go completely wild, while at the same time not distorting the defense so much that their teammates get easy buckets.
  • Can Whiteside keep up his strong start? Fans in Miami are surely shaking their heads right now. Over the Blazers’ first two games, Whiteside is averaging 19 points, shooting an astounding 88.2% from the field and 80% from the charity stripe, and pulling down 14 boards per game. Even better, he looks engaged and seems to be playing fundamental, unselfish basketball. Two games does not make a season, but so far, so good.

What they’re saying

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News reports that Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle is putting Delon Wright in exclusive company:

Friday was only Wright’s second game as a Maverick, but Carlisle certainly did not lightly offer this assessment of Wright’s 20-point, 7-rebound, 3-assist, 5-steal performance:

“Delon Wright’s game tonight, we haven’t seen defense like that since Jason Kidd was here. The play at the end where he stole the ball on the rebound really was a microcosm of the night that he had.”

Are the Mavericks good enough to make the playoffs? Not as the team stands according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

The roster’s deficiencies would not be such an issue if the Western Conference was not so stacked. You know things are rough when an LA Lakers roster that features LeBron James and Anthony Davis are not the best NBA team in that city.

With tongue firmly in cheek, Matt Gillroy of Mavs Moneyball sees only good things ahead for the Mavericks after Doncic and Porzingis combined for 57 points in their first game together:

I’m here to tell you that Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are already the best duo, not just currently in the league, but in all of NBA history. Better than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Better than Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. And, yes, Luka and Porzingis are better than Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

How did I form this opinion, you ask? Friend, this is no opinion. I don’t believe there’s room for opinion in the blog boy, er, news business. No, this has been deduced from cold, hard numbers.