Friday night in Portland we have a matchup of two really solid team in the Western Conference. The Mavericks visit the resurgent Portland Trail Blazers as each team tries to solidify their standing in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Friday, March 19, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Moda Center
How Good Is Portland Now That They Are Getting Healthier?
The short answer is they look very good. Now we have to temper these expectations a bit because the last two games were against the New Orleans Pelicans, which provide a limited litmus test. However, having C.J. McCollum back in the lineup is such a game changer for the Blazers it is hard to overstate the importance.
It gives Damian Lillard his proverbial Scottie Pippen back on the floor. It alleviates some of the pressure from Lillard, which he has borne with great aplomb, but it is unsustainable long term. Having C.J. McCollum back gives Portland a chance.
Now, if we’re being honest, he doesn’t help their defense a ton, but at this point there’s very little that would. The Blazers don’t play a lot of defense, but rather, they will try to simply outscore you. And to be fair to them, they are such a talented offensive team, that they can do that on a lot of nights. They will try to do it against a Dallas team that is not super defensive oriented, but will have a distinct size advantage on the Trail Blazers.
Can the Dallas Mavericks Slow Down Damian Lillard?
For everything I just said about C.J. McCollum above, and it’s all true, this Portland team runs on Damian Lillard. When Dame has an off night, it’s almost impossible for them to win. When Dame throws forty in someone’s grill, it’s almost impossible for them to lose.
Which means Luka Doncic will have to do his absolute best to slow down one of the league’s most underrated superstars. That is going to be a challenge, because Dallas is not exactly known for their stellar defense. Rather, it’s quite the opposite. Dallas’ defense is sieve like. They depend on outscoring people, the same way the Trail Blazers do to win. Dallas does have a noted size advantage over Portland, but Portland is going to lean heavily on their backcourt, which against puts this burden on Luka.
These are two very similar teams: Outside teams that are capable of making runs in the Western Conference playoffs if they get the right matchups and things break right for them. This game should be a fun one to watch. Neither team plays very good defense, rather they know they need to put up points to get the win.
That should lead to a very entertaining contest. I don’t know which of these will get the win because while Portland is hotter right now and has momentum, it’s also a tough scheduling spot with this being their third game in four nights. Rather I think the play is on the total in this one. Let’s watch and root for points, points, points.
NBA Pick: Over 228 (-110) at BetMGM