Following a disappointing loss to the Sacramento Kings, Dallas will get back in the saddle again for the second night of a back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers, who were also defeated by double-digits late Monday. If the Mavs aren’t careful, they’ll quickly find themselves falling down in the standings, as teams start to shake off some early season rust. The West was unlikely to be so mediocre forever.
What did the Trail Blazers do over the summer?
Well, they lost 4/5ths of their starting lineup, so that’s something. After trading Nicolas Batum early in the offseason, Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge departed and now the keys to the car rest in the pocket of Damian Lillard. Portland has promoted C.J. McCollum to the starting lineup -- replacing new Maverick Wes Matthews -- with good results.
What's the key matchup?
I mentioned him already, but in Matthews’ return to Portland I expect to see some extra gears from Wes, who already plays with a sizable chip on his shoulder. Assuming Dirk and Parsons (and probably JaVale McGee) sit this one out, Matthews will need to move that chip over and load a larger portion of the offense onto those shoulders, as well. Shooting well below his career average from three, this could be a good night for Wes to get on track and stay hot for a few weeks.
What key stat will determine the game?
Turnovers. Dallas has done fairly well taking care of the ball, but when the careless passes come the Mavs are woefully unprepared to stop opposing teams’ fast breaks, and for a rhythm offense every missed shot attempt hurts extra. The Mavs aren’t going to suddenly morph into a squad of athletes and rim-wreckers: they need to just play their game, move the rock and get good looks. For a shooting team that’s struggling, the only medicine is "more."
How to watch
FSSW at 9:00 CT, or on NBA League Pass via your streaming device of choice. Enjoy!