Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 10 PM ET (NBA TV)
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Portland Trail Blazers have not been as poor as suspected, while perhaps that statement applies in reverse to the Dallas Mavericks. Whatsoever the case, the two teams meet as equals in Portland with the odds EVEN and the over/under set at 201.
What has accounted for Portland’s emergence has been Damian Lillard taking his game to the next level and the emergence of another mid-major talent, 2014 first round pick C.J. McCollum. The backcourt duo is combining to average 44.2 points per game, 20 of which come from McCollum.
A sharpshooting dynamic guard, McCollum is shooting 45 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from three-point range on 5.3 attempts per game. He is making a strong case already for the league’s Most Improved Player award.
The Blazers have also seen several unheralded talents step into major roles with Al Farouq-Aminu becoming a defensive-minded talent a lot like the guy he replaced, Nicolas Batum. Mason Plumlee is building on the momentum he gained as a member of the Brooklyn Nets and is averaging 10 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Meyers Leonard backs him up at the 5-spot and also sees 25 minutes per game to average eight points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Even seldom used swingman (in Orlando) Maurice Harkless has proven himself as NBA-worthy and is a good defender off the bench. The Blazers have a semblance of depth and the superstar to bring it altogether, and the rebuild starts off on a much stronger foot than most expected it to, even if a 7-11 record is not awe-inspiring. The Blazers saving its ship from a cellar dwelling season has been.
The Mavs have a better record than Portland, but are not the contending team it has been in the past at 10-8 this season. Dirk Nowitzki still leads the team in scoring but he is seeing just under 30 minutes per game. Free agent acquisition Wesley Matthews has struggled badly shooting the ball, while Deron Williams is not doing world’s better. Dirk is still hitting 50 percent from the floor, but is a shadow of the dominant talent he once was.
Swingman Chandler Parsons has battled injuries and is still not seeing big minutes as a result of them. The Mavs also start one of the worst starting centers in the league in Zaza Pachouli, and JaVale McGee has appeared in just 44 minutes of court time this year. The Mavs do not really have any talents on the roster that are in their prime, with J.J. Barea and Ray Felton just adding to the mediocrity off the bench. It is hard to imagine the Mavs turning this around and becoming a playoff team, simply because so many of its players are washed up.
Expect Portland’s youth and home court advantage to result in a victory tonight. While this game is a PICK, bettors will be wise to consider the Blazers as easy victors in the affair. The Blazers can improve to 5-4 at home with a ‘W’ tonight.
HEAD TO HEAD