Dorian Finney-Smith was back at practice Saturday — three days after the birth of his son.
The Dallas Mavericks’ fifth-year forward arrived in Portland around 11 a.m. Saturday and made it to the team hotel in time to join the Mavs for the afternoon practice session. Finney-Smith, who also has a daughter and another son, missed the past two games after his son, Aysen, was born on Wednesday at 4:40 a.m.
“She went into labor at 1 (a.m.) and then he came at 4:40,” Finney-Smith said. “So it was a quick labor, but I didn’t get any sleep that night.
“I don’t think I went to sleep until after I took my Covid test, so it was a long night. I’m just happy that he’s healthy and everything worked out.”
Finney-Smith did his best to bond with Aysen before he left Dallas to fly to Portland and join the Mavs, who will play the Trail Blazers on Sunday at 9 p.m. at the Moda Center.
“I had my son on my chest,” Finney-Smith said. “I was just trying to build up a bunch of skin to skin with him before I leave and make sure he’s got my scent and stuff.
“My son, when he first saw him, he was like, ‘Oh, that’s my brother? He looks like me.’ That was funny. And my daughter, we just got to tell her to stop holding him so much. You know how that goes with girls.”
While Finney-Smith obviously wanted to spend as much time as he could with his family, he also missed being around his basketball family. Finney-Smith skipped Wednesday’s 105-89 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers and Friday’s 125-119 loss to the Blazers.
“It’s tough, just because I’m a competitor, especially when we lose you feel like you can help,” Finney-Smith said. “When we win it’s just like it was good and we were riding on a high. But when we lose you just look at all the little things that you probably could have helped to change the outcome, but I think the guys held it down.
“Wes (Iwundu) played some good minutes, and the team has been playing good. We’ve been playing good the last couple of games. Hopefully when I play (Sunday) I can bring the energy that I always bring.”
Finney-Smith was pleased with the way the Mavs brought both the energy and the pain in the win over the Clippers. It was just the second time all season someone has held the Clippers under 90 points in a game, and the other occasion was when the Mavs drilled the Clippers, 124-73, on Dec. 27.
“It just shows you that we can do it,” Finney-Smith said. “Even if I’m there or not, we can guard regardless of who’s on the court if we’ve got that defensive mindset going into the game.
“I think the Clippers, you kind of got to come out with that aggression, because they’ll hit you in the mouth and they’re going to let you know about it. I think we did a good job responding and hopefully we can do the same thing tomorrow.”
Lillard/McCollum plan: The Mavs were not pleased that both Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum were able to surpass the 30-point barrier during Friday’s six-point loss to the Blazers.
McCollum was 11-of-23 from the field, including 7-of-11 from beyond the 3-point arc, and poured in 32 points in just 28 minutes. Lillard was 10-of-19 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from downtown, and tossed in 31 points.
Thus, the Mavs spent a portion of Saturday’s practice discussing what to do to contain Portland’s backcourt tandem.
“Lillard and McCollum are great players,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Yes, our goal is to try to limit them and make it as difficult as possible.
“I can’t give you an exact number of points that we’re going to limit them to or that they’re going to score, but it’s a big part of our conversations and the stuff that we did today. We’re certainly looking forward to the challenge of doing better.”
Often, it becomes a bit difficult to guard Lillard since his range — as he consistently proved with the half-court shots he buried in the recent NBA All-Star Game — is limitless.
“He’s a great player,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the best players in the game — there’s no question about.
“I haven’t coached him, but from afar he is a guy that must work extremely hard on his game to be that precise with his shooting and to be able to execute in such long distance and under such great pressure.”
Lillard also is a player that seems to rise to the occasion when the game is on the line. It’s affectionately known at Dame Time.
“He’s been a guy in recent years who’s changed the game,” Carlisle said. “That’s a really high, high compliment to any player. But he’s very, very special.”
Terry not on trip: Rookie guard Tyrell Terry is not on this road trip with the Mavs,
“He’s not on the trip for personal reasons,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s all I can give you at this time.
“I don’t have any timetable for him being back, but he’s away from the team right now for personal reasons and that’s where we are.”
While playing 13 games in the NBA G League bubble for the Memphis Hustle, Terry averaged 14.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 29.4 minutes per contest. Terry was a second-round selection (31st overall) of the Mavs in the Nov. 18 NBA Draft.