Portland Trailblazers vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview and Pick

Portland Trailblazers +3 (30-17) at Dallas Mavericks -3 (28-19) O/U 199 8:30 PM ET Wednesday February 4, 2009 on NBA TV
By Jason Green at Predcitem.com

Tonight the Portland Trailblazers travel to the Big D to play the Dallas Mavericks. Both of these teams are currently hot, as the Blazers have won 5 in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games and the Mavericks have won 3 in a row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. Currently the Blazers are in 2ns place in the Northwest Division trailing the 1st place Denver Nuggets by 1.5 games and the Mavericks are in 4th place in the Southwest Division and trail the 1st place San Antonio Spurs by 4.5 games. This is an important Western Conference match up, especially for the Mavericks who are clinging to the 7th spot in the West, while the Blazers are in the 4th spot.

This game will be the youth of the Blazers against the experience of the Mavericks. In other words, the Blazers are a team with a bright future and Mavericks may have missed their window of opportunity, but they did beat the Magic in their last game so there is hope.

This season the Mavericks are 14-7 at home and the Blazers are 12-12 is away games.

The sportsbooks have the Mavericks as 3-point favorites with a total around 199. The Mavericks are posted at -130 as home favorites and the Blazers are posted at +110 as away dogs.

The Mavericks come into this game after an impressive win over the Orlando Magic 105-95 on Monday night. The high scorer for the Mavs in that game was Dirk Nowitzki going for 29 points on 12/21 shooting. For the game the Mavs were on fire going 39/73 from the field for a FG% of 53.4%. On D the Mavs held the Magic to 35/82 shooting for a FG% of 42.7%.

The Blazers also come into this game after an impressive win beating the New Orleans Hornets 97-89 on Monday night. The high scorer for the Blazers in that game was LaMarcus Aldridge going for 22 points on 9/21 shooting and also grabbing 11 boards. For the game the Blazers shot 38/78 for a FG% of 48.7%. On D the Blazers clamped down, holding the Hornets to 34/80 shooting for a FG% of 42.5%.

This season the Mavs rank 11th in scoring (100.6 ppg) and the Blazers rank 16th (98.7 ppg). On defense the Blazers rank 8th in opponents points allowed (94.6 ppg) and the Mavs rank 14th (99.1 ppg). The Blazers are not a good team in defending the 3 pointer, as opponents are shooting 38% from beyond the arc against them. The Blazers are one of the better rebound teams in the league, as they have a rebounding differential of +5.1 rpg and the Mavs are at +1.5 rpg.

This season the Mavs are 22-25 ATS and the Blazers are 25-22. In terms of Over/Under games the Mavs are 21-25-1 and the Blazers are 21-26.

On the injury front PG Steve Blake is day-to-day for the Blazers while the Mavs are reporting no significant injuries.

In recent years the Mavs have dominated the Blazers in Dallas, as they have not won in the Big D since 2003, which is a span of 10 games.

The big match up is at PF pitting LaMarcus Aldridge (17.6 ppg) against Dirk Nowitzki (25.8). Aldridge gets his most of his points in the paint and Nowitzki is more of a shooter. Dirk has to play good D on Aldridge and not let him dominate the boards.

The interior D of Dallas is their weakness and besides containing Aldridge they also have to worry about Greg Oden (8.8 ppg), who is getting better as the season progresses. Erick Dampier (5.5 ppg 7.3 rpg) and Nowitzki (8.3 rpg) have to play solid on the glass tonight, as it will spark their fast break and limit the Blazers’ 2nd chance opportunities.

The Blazers have to play good perimeter D on Jason Kidd and not let him penetrate and dish out to Nowitzki and Josh Howard (17.8 ppg), who can both light it up from downtown.

The Mavs will look to run tonight, but the Blazers have the youth to keep up with them, so the Mavs will have to shoot the rock well tonight in order to keep their home winning streak over the Blazers alive.

Many people think the Mavs are a has-been team, but they are playing well recently and can move up in the Western Conference standings with a win over a Blazers team that may be THE team of the future.

Jason’s Pick: This is a tough game to pick with the current point spread. There’s better value on the board tonight (Memphis +5.5) but if forced to make a play here, I’d have to take the Blazers in what SHOULD be a close game throughout.