What did the Trail Blazers do over the summer?
The Blazers had a respectable season last season - though they missed the playoffs, they hung around the fringes of the race long enough. And boy did they get better over the summer (in case you hadn't been paying attention). Bench play was an issue last year, so they traded for Dorell Wright and Mo Williams to help with three point shooting. They drafted C.J. McCollum, who was considered one of the best scoring prospects in the draft. They acquired Thomas Robinson via trade, and also acquired Robin Lopez to play next to LaMarcus Aldridge.
Oh, and they got rid of J.J. Hickson, which, if that was their only move over the summer it still would have been a good one.
What have the Trail Blazers done lately?
Oh, you know, only gotten off to one of the hottest starts in franchise history at 17-3. The Blazers recently rattled off a couple impressive wins against the Pacers and the Thunder. They took the Jazz to school last night, 130-98. They're the trendy team to catch in the West right now, for sure.
Which Mavericks player might be due for a big game?
Jose Calderon. With a couple days' more rest for that sore ankle combined with Portland sometimes having issues containing point guards, and the Mavs having one who, you know, can shoot, Calderon may very well be set up nicely for a huge game.
What team stat might determine the game?
Points in the paint. As we'll see in more detail in the Q&A with Blazer's Edge later today, despite the hot start, the Blazers rank near last in the league in points in the paint scored and points in the paint allowed per game. The If the Mavs can take advantage, they'll have a fighting chance.
Tune in later today for a fantastic, in-depth look at the Blazers with Dave Deckard of Blazer's Edge!