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3 things to watch as the Mavericks meet the Portland Trail Blazers

Can’t stop, won’t stop, it’s the Yogi Ferrell era.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard rising from nowhere but Seth Curry don’t care.
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t look now but the Dallas Mavericks have won 7 of their last 10 and are 2.5 games behind tonight’s opponent, the Portland Trail Blazers, for the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

(Never mind that the Mavs are also tied with two other teams and the Trail Blazers are tied with the Nuggets so it’s a basically five bun race with one hot dog on the grill situation. Oh, and the Pelicans are also only half a game behind the Mavs.)

Only 2.5 games!

Another hot Western Conference backcourt

There may not be another team so backcourt-dependent as the Blazers. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both have a usage rate north of 28 percent and average 49.6 points a game between the two of them. Like the Cavs game, the Mavs should employ a "contain" strategy, i.e., let the two bonafide stars get their buckets but manage rest of the team.

For we can not deny McCollum is a filthy scorer and a shining beacon of truth:

Watch out for their floor leader

Mason Plumlee. Yes, 6-11 Mason Plumlee. Okay, he’s not their floor leader, but he’s their number two distributor at 4.1 assists per game, behind Lillard’s 5.8. In fact, his assist to turnover ratio is leading the team at 2.57 (Lillard’s 2.15). He’s a legitimate threat for double-digit assists for a big man as the Blazers like to utilize him as a facilitator so the Mavericks need to be careful about leaving their man when Plumlee has the ball.

Every day a star is born

Technically, it’s estimated 275-400 million stars are born a day but it seems like every other game there is a new Maverick breaking out.

  • Since becoming a starter two weeks ago, Seth Curry has become the Mavericks’ second leading scorer and their best three point shooter.
  • Since joining the Mavs about a week ago, Yogi Ferrell has lead the Mavericks in dimes and steals per game (5.0 and 2.3).
  • Last night, Salah Meijri feasted on former #3 overall pick Jahlil Oakfor to the tune of 16 points and 17 rebounds in 21 minutes. The minutes where they were matched up against each other were not pretty for Oakfor.

It’s exciting times when fresh faces come out and play starring roles. Who will it be against the Blazers?

How to watch

Buy some coffee, we might have a midnight game. Tip off is at 9:30 CT on ESPN or NBA League Pass.