After yesterday's news that Chandler Parsons will be out for the season, the final 12 games become even more important. Let's take a look at the next matchup against the Trail Blazers.
Which Blazers player might be due for a big game?
I think that Allen Crabbe will have a good game against the Mavs. Now, before you scoff, hear me out. With all the lineup jockeying that Rick Carlisle is going to have to do with Parsons out for the season, the heaviest burden is bound to be on the Mavs' guards. It stands to reason that Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, and Wesley Matthews will start. That leaves J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, and Justin Anderson coming off the bench. For now, let's assume that Anderson is a non factor and sees minimal playing time. That leaves an interesting juggling contest for who subs in and out and when.
This brings me back to Crabbe. He comes off the bench to replace C.J. McCollum at shooting guard. Depending on who the Mavs have on the floor, he will be guarded by either Felton or Harris. This is assuming that Matthews will spend the majority of his minutes at small forward. Neither of these players have quite the ability to shut down someone with ability to drive and connect from outside at a high percentage like Crabbe.
Further, Crabbe has historically played well against Dallas. He dropped 24 points on them last game. Also, in three career games against the Mavs, he has averaged 16.7 points, his highest average against any team in the NBA. He averaged 44.7 percent on field goals and 45 percent on 3s in those games. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at.
Which Mavericks player might be due for a big game?
Is it too much to ask Dirk Nowitzki to have a repeat 40-point performance? With Parsons out (yes, we'll keep talking about that) Dirk is really the only player that the Mavs can lean on to score points consistently. Sure, Williams can get hot but he seems to save those moments for late in the fourth quarter. Who else can the team turn to for the rest of the game? Maybe Barea can get going again like he did a few months ago. That's a big maybe, though. Matthews has been, well, not good at shooting a basketball this season. It's Dirk. He's now the alpha and omega of the offense. He's also 37 years old..
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Blazers?
They need to shut down Allen Crabbe! LOL. But no really. Everything begins and ends with the play of the guards on Portland. Damian Lillard and McCollum are going to get theirs. So the Mavs really do need to stop Crabbe. They can't have all three go off again.
Oh, it would also help if the Mavs could play some good perimeter defense. Portland is really good from deep.
How to watch
I'm going out on a limb and saying that you can watch the game on FSSW. And remember that the Mavs are on the road so the game doesn't start until 9 p.m. Central Time.