The Dallas Mavericks (20-28) host the Portland Trailblazers (25-23) Wednesday night, the start of a five game home stand that sees the Mavericks stay in Dallas for 15 days.
We're at that horrible part in the season where due to scheduling quirks we see the same team for the second time in ten days. This happened last week too when Dallas played Phoenix twice in a similar time span. Adding insult to injury for us fans is that Dallas really isn't playing for anything. Sure you can hold out hope that the team makes a playoff push. I can understand why folks feel the need to do that, we've become accustomed to success.
But I can't do it anymore. This team has lost too many really close games and has also been embarrassing to watch on far too many occasions. They aren't even fun-bad where we would get to see a young player grow and develop. I guess you could count O.J. Mayo in that role, but he's 25 (Kevin Durant is 24, just so you know) and I'm tired of the "two steps forward, two steps back" routine with Mayo. Some GM is going to offer him $12 million a year for 4 years. It better not be Donnie. But I digress.
So how do the Mavs match up? Well considering they beat the crap out of the Blazers in the first match up, then held a 20+ point lead in the second one before letting it slip away, I feel pretty good about things. It's important to note that Damian Lillard has yet to have a really good game against Dallas and Nic Batum has been thrown off his game because Shawn Marion must be annoying to guard. So be on the lookout from big games from them.
Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo need to rebound from pathetic performances against the Thunder. I'd like to see spicy Darren, the crazed guy who attacks the rim with abandon instead of pouty Darren, who gets sad when things don't go his way. As for Mayo, well if you follow me on twitter you know I don't like him much right now. I'd be satisfied if he doesn't lose his man on simple back door cuts.
Marion will need to be the jack of all trades again. We rely on him and Vince Carter way more than is normal for players of their age. As for Dirk, he had a good performance against the Blazers last time, so hopefully he can play well again. Part of why he's not having a good season is none of the guards know how to get him the ball. We really took for granted how well Jason Kidd understood the angles needed to get Dirk the ball in a good place. Watch it tonight, Dirk will post up at 12 feed, but manage to catch a pass after he's been pushed out to 17 feet because a guard can't find the angle needed.
Chris Kaman isn't going to play as of now, and he's pretty irritated at the NBA's concussion policy. I understand why he's annoyed but he's also wrong. Anyway I think we're all pleased with the performance given by Bernard James. The Dallas bench is better than the Portland bench, but if Carter is sick again look for another stalemate.
If Dallas has any playoff hope left, it starts tonight. They need to win every game in this home stand and a great game against Portland would be a good start. See you tonight in the game thread.