The Trail Blazers are right back at it Friday night at Moda Center.
Thursday against New Orleans, Portland showed it can play at a high-level on defense and sustain that defensive pressure.
With a 101-93 victory over the Pelicans, the Trail Blazers improved to 24-16 on the season.
They now welcome in the 21-18 Dallas Mavericks.
Thursday’s game against Dallas will be the second of three meetings between the two this season.
The final game will come two days later, on March 21.
Portland leads the season series, 1-0. Following Thursday night's win over New Orleans, Damian Lillard discussed the matchup against the Mavericks, saying, "they're a tough team."
It was back on Feb. 14 when the Trail Blazers defeated the Mavericks, 121-118 in Dallas behind Lillard’s 34 points, three rebounds, 11 assists, and one steal. In the matchup of superstars, Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 44 points, while also notching seven rebounds and nine assists.
Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) are out for Friday’s contest against the Mavs.
For Dallas, Willie Cauley-Stein (health and safety protocols), Dorian Finney-Smith (personal reasons), James Johnson (health and safety protocols), and Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) are out.
Following Thursday’s game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes examined the Blazers' defensive performance:
The Trail Blazers finished off a sweep of back-to-back games against the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night and there was one basic difference between the two games.
“This was our best defensive game of the year,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “We didn't have a bad quarter. Every quarter, our defensive rating was really good and we rebounded the ball well.
“I don't know what it ended up, but we limited their fast breaks, we limited their points in the paint, we limited their second-chance points.
“I thought we were aggressive on Zion, our help defense was good, so it was like I said, it was our best defensive effort of the year.”
Wire to wire. And it was a great night to get that improved defense because the offense was no great shakes.
Damian Lillard was 12-22 from the field on his way to 36 points – but even he suffered through a seven-turnover, no-assist night.
Of course it’s hard to get assists when your teammates aren’t making shots. The Blazers not named “Lillard” went 21-65 from the field.
And the bench production was pretty much a one-man show.
Carmelo Anthony was 6-12 and scored 15 points, but the rest of the Portland reserves managed to go just 1-14 for 5 points. Gary Trent had an unusually frustrating game, going 1-11 from the field.
So, it was up to the defense – and the defense was up to the challenge.
Read more here.
The Blazers are +3.5 point underdogs against the Mavs Friday night, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know –
- Carmelo Anthony recorded 15 points, five rebounds and three assists against the Mavericks on Feb. 14.
- Robert Covington had 15 points (5-7 FG, 4-4 3-PT, 1-2 FT), five rebounds and four steals on Feb. 14.
- Kristaps Porzingis recorded 18 points (5-9 FG, 8-8 FT), eight rebounds, one steal and two blocks on Feb. 14 against Portland.
- PERFECT AT THE LINE: Led by Damian Lillard's 18-of-18 free-throw shooting, Portland finished a perfect 31-of-31 from the charity stripe against New Orleans on March 16. It set the franchise records for the most free throws made by a player and the team in a game without a miss.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +3.5 (-110) – Mavericks: -3.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Friday, March 19
Where: Moda Center | Portland, Oregon
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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