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Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Preview

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Two new-look teams clash as the Blazers get another shot at Luka Doncic and the Mavs.

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (33-21) at Dallas Mavericks (25-29)

Sunday, February 10th - 12:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: None
Mavericks injuries: J.J. Barea (out), Kristaps Porzingis (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Mavs Moneyball

Two squads re-energized by the trade deadline clash in the Lone Star State, with the teams moving in different directions this season.

Portland looks to use the acquisitions of Rodney Hood and Skal Labissiere to propel them past the first round of the playoffs. Hood showed off his offensive ability in his Trail Blazers debut, scoring 14 on 6-of-7 shooting in a 127-118 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

For the Mavericks, they are looking to next season and beyond. Their star pickup at the deadline, Kristaps Porzingis, will not play this season as he recovers from a torn ACL. Dallas also sent away Harrison Barnes for Justin Jackson in a move that weakens the team now, but gives potential for the future. Last time out, the new-look Mavs fell to the Milwaukee Bucks 122-107.

What to watch for

  • The past no indicator of the present. Portland won a close contest the last time these teams faced off on December 4th. One of the players that did the most damage to the Blazers was Barnes, who was, as mentioned, traded away. It’s worth noting two players that thrived against Portland while they were with the New York Knicks were Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. Those players now suit up for Dallas. A new set of players requires a new set of plans.
  • Which Rodney Hood shows up? Hood has been inconsistent in the past, so Portland needs to know which Hood will play. Will it be the Hood they traded for, who has six 20-point games this season? Or will it be the Hood from late January, who shot 31.7% from the field for the last half of the month?
  • Contain Luka Doncic. This should go without saying, but it is worth repeating. Doncic is every bit as good as advertised. The Rookie of the Year front runner has put on a show for Dallas, with 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Stopping him means stopping the Mavericks.

What they’re saying

Brice Paterik of Mavs Moneyball participated in a fun Reddit Q&A session with star Luka Doncic:

Q: What was your first “Wow, I’m actually playing in the NBA” moment?

A: Playing against Lebron. For sure

Q: Hey Luka, what was your first reaction to Porzingis’ trade?

A: I was shocked. I’m not used to this in Europe, so yea shock

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News explained why tanking is not the right strategy for the Mavericks:

Dallas’ first-round draft pick is lost to Atlanta, unless by remote chance it finishes in the top five of the lottery, in which case next year’s pick would be conveyed to the Hawks.

Better to write off that pick this season and focus on trying to play semi-meaningful games in March and if possible, April, to show Luka Doncic some semblance of what such games are like, for his future benefit - and for Nowitzki to play perhaps the final months of his career on a team playing with purpose.