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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks Game Preview

Will Game Two against the Mavs bring more fun?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (20-22) vs Dallas Mavericks (24-20)

The Portland Trail Blazers finally snapped their five-game losing streak with a win against the Mavericks last night 136-119. The win for the Blazers came in the third game of this current four-game home stand, which they look to finish off 2-2 with another win against Dallas tonight.

This second game in the series is the final game of a five-game road trip for the Mavericks where they now sit just 1-3 for the trip. They are looking to gain some momentum heading into their coming four-game home stand.

Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks - Sunday, January 15 - 6:00 p.m. PT

How to watch on TV: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass

Blazers injuries: Justise Winslow (out)

UPDATE: Nassir Little has been upgraded to “probable” to play, Gary Payton II has been added to the injury report, but is also listed as “probable.”

Mavericks injuries: Maxi Kleber (out), Dorian Finney-Smith (out), Josh Green (out), Christian Wood (day-to-day), Tim Hardaway Jr. (day-to-day)

SBN Affiliate: Mavs Moneyball

The Matchup

Luka Doncic. Doncic had his lowest scoring output of the year in last night’s game against the Blazers with just 15 points. The Blazers threw double teams at him all night to try and mitigate the massive damage that he can do. If the Blazers don’t switch up the defensive game plan and the Mavericks aren't able to adjust, another low scoring night could be on the table for the Slovenian superstar. However, if Luka adjusts, whether it be through different offensive looks, or a more playmaking-oriented approach, the Blazers could be in danger of witnessing Luka Magic firsthand.

Battle on the boards. The Mavericks shot amazing from three at 48% and a very good 52% from the field last night. However, when they missed they weren’t able to get extra possessions on the glass. And when the Blazers missed, they were able to stop the Mavericks from finishing the defensive possession. Portland rode a 47-25 rebounding advantage to their 17-point victory over the Mavericks. The absence of big man Christian Wood hurt the rebounding of the Mavericks and Luka only getting six rebounds didn’t help. The Blazers not allowing any second possessions while also creating some for themselves blew the game wide open and they’ll look to replicate that success tonight.

Gary Payton II. Payton played just 15 minutes in the game as he works his way back from his surgery and battled foul trouble. However, those minutes were some of the most consequential of the game. He played amazing defense on Luka the whole time he was on the court and that led to four steals. He was on the court for his defense, but his offense was not far behind last night. He scored 10 points on 80% shooting from the field, easily his best showing of his young season. He is poised to be just as important tonight as the Blazers hope to slow down the freight train that is Luka Doncic one more time this season.

What Others Are Saying

Kirk Henderson of Mavs Moneybag highlighted the impressive shooting display from Reggie Bullock in their game against the Blazers.

Bullock hit a career high eight threes tonight on ten attempts and it single handedly raised his season percentage from 31.3% to 33.8%. Considering we’re 44 games into the season, that’s pretty remarkable. It’s been a frustrating season for Bullock and for fans watching him as his shot’s been bad and his defense has been worse. If Dallas is to have any long term hope of doing anything past treading water, it involves Bullock being a contributor. Hopefully tonight is one step.

The Smoking Cuban’s Tyler Watts talks about the Mavericks need for a center at the trade deadline to round out a solid, but not perfect, group of Mavericks big men.

McGee was promised a starting role, but that lasted just seven games before he was played off the floor. The veteran big man has struggled in the Mavericks’ defensive scheme, and he has completely fallen out of the rotation.

Christian Wood has been fantastic in Dallas, but he still struggles on defense. The block numbers have picked up since he moved into the starting lineup, but the Mavs still allow way too many easy buckets, and they rank dead last in rebounds per game.

The Dallas Mavericks need to acquire a center upgrade that can be their defensive anchor and improve their rebounding, especially with Maxi Kleber set to miss extended time.