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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview

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The Blazers hope to keep the momentum going against the Mavericks.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (19-26) vs. Dallas Mavericks (27-16)

January 22, 2019 - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Rodney Hood (out), Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Skal Labissiere (out), CJ McCollum (out), Hassan Whiteside (available)
Mavericks injuries: Dwight Powell (out), Ryan Broekhoff (out)
How to watch on TV: TNT
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Mavs Moneyball

3:30pm Update: CJ McCollum has been downgraded to OUT tonight. Hassan Whiteside will be available.

The Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Dallas Mavericks following an overtime win over the Golden State Warriors 129-124. Damian Lillard shouldered the scoring burden against the Warriors, setting a new franchise record with 61 points while managing 10 rebounds for a double-double. Hassan Whiteside also had a double-double, contributing 17 points alongside 21 rebounds.

The Dallas Mavericks arrive in Portland after a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers 110-107. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, while Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup with 10 points. Center Dwight Powell exited the game with an Achilles rupture, marking a potential change in fortune for the Mavs.

What to watch for

  • Who has the hot hand? While Damian Lillard showed why he deserves to be an All-Star with his performance against the Warriors, it remains the fact that Lillard needs help. Though Lillard proves again and again that he has an extra gear, there should not be cause for him to use it. Hopefully his record-breaking game has inspired some of his younger teammates to step up.
  • New (and old) teammates. Coach Terry Stotts said that Trevor Ariza, newly acquired from the Sacramento Kings, will “probably” be taking over the starting small forward slot, adding a veteran presence on the floor that is needed. Wenyen Gabriel adds some depth at power forward. Meanwhile, the team welcomes Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan back to Rip City.
  • Motivation. It seems that every game the Blazers have played against the Dallas Mavericks has gone...poorly. Between Zach Collins’ shoulder dislocation in the first matchup of the season and CJ McCollum’s sprained ankle during the last game against Dallas, Rip City is starting to wonder what is going on. Despite those injuries and setbacks, it is likely that the Blazers enter this face-off with a lot of motivation to pull out a win.

What they’re saying

Josh Bowe over at Mavs Moneyball covers how devastating the loss of Dwight Powell is to the Mavericks:

Powell’s first season and a half in Dallas was mostly him wildly missing layups near the basket and taking lots of elbow jumpers. Seemingly overnight, he transformed himself into a deadly pick and roll player, which is harder than it looks. It’s easy to assume all big men can be good as a finisher in the pick and roll, but it’s a skill that has to be taught and acquired. Powell did so with his tireless work ethic, which he absorbed from the final years of Dirk Nowitzki. He carried on Dirk’s giving to the community as well. It’s hard for us to write about it as most of the events happen during real work hours, but Powell has been huge in the community.

Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News examines the contributions Tim Hardaway Jr. has made so far this season:

Before the season, Hardaway said he thought he could be Michael Finley in an analogy in which Doncic and Porzingis are Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, a callback to the Mavericks’ Big Three of two decades ago. Instead, Hardaway began the season as sixth man.

“I’m not going to lie, it was tough,” Hardaway said. “I wasn’t getting the looks I was hoping to get, and I was battling through stuff, just trying to force a look here and there, and I knew that wasn’t my game.”

But Hardaway was inserted into the starting lineup in late November. Since then, his play has helped position Dallas to move up in the playoff race, as six of the next nine games are against teams currently occupying playoff spots.