The Mavericks will try to climb up the standings as they host the Portland Trail Blazers twice in four days. It starts at American Airlines Center tomorrow afternoon, the Mavs last home game before they set out on a four-game road trip. The Mavs own a 1-0 series lead over Portland right now, a 115-112 win on December 15. Are the Mavs capable of beating a team in the Western Conference playoff picture?
What have the Blazers done lately?
After ascending in the standings through February, winning nine of their 11 games, the Blazers have come back down to earth in the month of March. They have lost six out of 10 games this month but it has still been enough to hold the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. They are riding into AAC with their heads high though, coming off a 117-112 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
What Mavericks player might be due for a big game?
Wesley Matthews. Time is running out in the season and Matthews hasn't had a lot of bright moments so far. With Chandler Parsons (right hamstring) doubtful to play in this one, somebody will have to pick up the slack on offense to provide support for Dirk. Matthews is due and should be motivated as he takes on his former team.
What do the Mavericks need to do to be successful against the Blazers?
Set the pace. The Mavs have to stop letting the opponents dictate how the game will be played. They have grown accustomed to doing that and we saw it on full display in their previous game against the Golden State Warriors when they had to match the high-pace scoring of the Warriors. Mavs have to find a way to create that pace on their own without being bullied into it by the opposition and then play sound defense.
How to watch
Early tipoff at 3 p.m. Central on Fox Sports Southwest or on NBA League Pass via streaming device of your choice