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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2/14/2021 Adrian Bernecich
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (15-10) vs. Dallas Mavericks (13-14)

The Portland Trail Blazers clocked their three-game homestand and now look to take this form on the road, starting in Dallas this afternoon. The Mavericks have been underwhelming at best this season but have enjoyed a mini four-game renaissance over the past week. Portland will look to further separate itself from the dreaded play-in game zone while contesting six of their next seven games away from the Moda Center.

Sunday, February 14 - 4:30 p.m. PT

How to watch on TV: ESPN, League Pass, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*

Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), CJ McCollum (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Rodney Hood (questionable)

Mavericks injuries: None

SBN Affiliate: Mavs Moneyball

*Blazer’s Edge receives a commission when you subscribe through these links.

What To Watch For

  • Gary Trent Jr. Trent Jr. has reached a level where he’s consistently putting up impressive numbers without it being surprising. He’s also also delivering big on the defensive side of the ball. The third-year guard is averaging 21.5 points over the past six games and has more than satisfactorily subbed in for the injured CJ McCollum. It’s going to be hard to see him return to the bench once McCollum is healthy.
  • Sharing the offensive load. Four Blazers (Damian Lillard, Trent Jr., Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter) scored at least 20 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, with Anfernee Simons also contributing 16 off the bench. Offence by committee seems to be working for the Blazers as they wait for McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic to return. Watch for players not named Damian Lillard to continue filling up the box score.
  • Mavs revival. Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic hit a career-high 46 points with Kristaps Porzingis also recording 36 in their no-defense win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. To say the Mavericks have been disappointing this season would be a gross understatement, with a number of pundits initially picking them for contention. Could they have finally turned the corner?

What Others Are Saying

Dallas’ big win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday also delivered Luka Doncic a career scoring night, writes Luke Askew of Mavs Moneyball.

‘Luka scored a career-high 46 points on an insane 17-of-30 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point land to go along with 12 assists and eight rebounds. He also only turned the ball over three times.’

‘In anti-Zion fashion, Luka did a little bit from everywhere on the court. He blew by defenders and got to the rim whenever he wanted. He hit deep three after deep three. And he also was cooking from mid-range.’

The Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan sees today’s game as an indicator for where the the revived Mavericks are at.

“The Mavericks’ game Sunday night against Portland will be an important litmus test.”

“A year ago, Lillard dropped a career-high-tying 61 points against the Mavericks in the bubble. Perhaps that’s why Carlisle spent the majority of the last two days talking about his desire to buckle down on defense, even after the Mavericks showed their best offensive burst yet.”

Three months on, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale has given the Mavericks a C- for their 2020 offseason.

“Nothing about the Mavs’ free-agency dealings is detrimental. Maybe they could’ve gotten more mileage out of their mid-level exception than burning most of it on Burke and Cauley-Stein. Maybe. But Burke will have the occasional 20-plus-point game when he’s not being roundly outperformed by Jalen Brunson, and the second year on Cauley-Stein’s contract is a team option.”

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