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3 things to watch for as the Mavericks host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers

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Two of the hottest Western Conference teams will meet on Valentine’s day

Dallas Mavericks v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The Mavericks put on an incredible performance to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 143-130 on Friday evening. This game might have been the best offensive performance in the Dončić - Porzingis era. Dončić scored a career-high 46 points and the duo combined for 82 points. That’s the highest output the duo scored as teammates.

Guess what? We might be in for another shootout as the Mavericks (13-14) will host the Trail Blazers (15-10) on Sunday evening. Both teams won five out of their last six games and are feeling good about themselves going into this game.

Here the things to know before this Valentine’s Day special:

Expect many points

Forget about defense, these two teams win with offense only. Per Cleaning the Glass data Dallas is currently ranked 26th on defense, one place in front of Portland at 27th place. On offense, Portland is ranked 5th, while Dallas moved up to 9th place after a stellar performance against the Pelicans. We’re waiting for Dallas to turn around things on defense, but don’t bet on it to happen against Portland.

Over the stretch of the last five games, the Mavericks are averaging 127.6 points per game, which would be great if they wouldn’t give up 129.6 points on defense. Both teams play a similar brand of basketball on offense, they take care of the ball and shoot a lot of threes.

Let’s hope bubble Dame doesn’t show up

The last time these two teams met Damian Lillard scored 61 points in the Orlando bubble. Lillard exposed Maverick’s drop coverage in the pick and roll and scored at will. Dallas already struggled to contain high-scoring guards who are good in the pick and roll this season. Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Tray Young, and the Jazz combo of Ingles and Conley all presented big problems for the Mavericks’ defense.

It will be interesting to see if Carlisle will revert to some of the tactics he used to get the ball out of Tray Young’s hands, on Damian Lillard as well. If that happens watch out for Carmelo Anthony who is averaging 17.3 points per game in February. The veteran forward is still capable of scoring outbursts. He scored 23 points on Friday when Portland beat Cleveland and had 17 points in the fourth quarter in a win against Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Will Dončić - Porzingis duo continue to roll?

It was great to see both Mavericks’ stars having a good game against the Pelicans. Porzingis was slow to get in a rhythm after he came back from a meniscus injury in January. But we are starting to see glimpses of the player we saw in the bubble, at least on offense. Porzingis is averaging 23.4 points per game in the seven games in February. His ridiculous 8 of 13 three-point outbursts against the Pelicans raised his February three-point field goal percentage to 45%.

The Mavericks might struggle to contain Lillard on the offensive end, but they need to punish the Trail Blazers on the other side of the ball. Because of the injuries, Enes Kanter is the only real serviceable big man Portland has left. Kanter is a poor defender, especially in the pick and roll and the Mavericks need to attack him. Dallas was very methodical in exposing weaknesses against the Pelicans, and they need to repeat that against the Trail Blazers.

How to watch

Another national TV game on ESPN again at p.m. CST. The potential black out issues locally means the game may get played on Fox Sports Southwest as well.