Previewing Game No. 44
Mavericks (27-16) at Blazers (19-26)
Time: 9:30 p.m. CT
Place: Moda Center, Portland.
Radio: ESPN, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: Thank the heavens, the Mavericks are back on the road where they have a sparkling 14-5 record. Their loss to the LA Clippers Tuesday dropped their home record to 13-11 . . . They saw the Blazers just six days ago, winning 120-112 at American Airlines Center, and not much has changed. The Mavericks will hope for similar production from their backcourt. In last week’s meeting, Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined for 64 points while hitting 13 of their combined 20 3-pointers . . . The Mavericks remain No. 1 in the NBA in offensive efficiency at 117.2 points per 100 possessions. However, they have slipped to 17th in defensive efficiency, allowing 110.1 points per 100 possessions. That may explain why they are just 6-6 since Dec. 29 . . . Doncic has resumed terrorizing the league, averaging 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists over the last three games . . . His next triple double will be the 21st of his career, tying the Mavericks’ career record owned by Jason Kidd . . . Tim Hardaway Jr. has been shooting it well lately, hitting 15-of-34 3-pointers (44 percent) over the last five games.
About the Blazers: While the Mavericks lament their injury situation, it’s nothing compared to the Blazers, who are without centers Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Skal Labissiere, as well as swingman Rodney Hood. They also could be missing high-scoring guard C.J. McCollum, who hasn’t played since suffering a sprained ankle in the game against Dallas last week . . . What they do have is center Hassan Whiteside and point guard Damian Lillard, who are enough to make life tough on any opponent. Whiteside had 21 points and 18 rebounds last week against the Mavericks and Lillard had 34 points and 10 assists . . . Interestingly, considering they have the deft passing of Lillard, that the Blazers are dead last in the league in assists per game at 19.4 . . . Carmelo Anthony is averaging better than 16 points since joining the Blazers in November . . . The Blazers started a four-game home stand on MLK Day with a 129-124 overtime win against Golden State . . . They have been to the playoffs six consecutive seasons under former Rick Carlisle assistant coach Terry Stotts, but are lodged in 10th in the Western Conference, two games behind Memphis for the No. 8 spot.