Preview: Trail Blazers at Mavericks
The Portland Trail Blazers are experiencing issues after getting off to a strong start. Portland has dropped five of its last six games entering Tuesday’s road game against the Dallas Mavericks, who have won nine of their past 12 games.
The Trail Blazers have allowed 125 or more points three times during the six-game stretch and the issues were evident during Sunday’s 131-118 road setback against the San Antonio Spurs. “It’s definitely been a struggle,” Portland forward Al-Farouq Aminu told reporters. “Teams have been able to score at a highly efficient rate pretty easy the last couple of games. I like the way that we started the game, we had a couple of steals, guys getting on the floor — we even showed that at halftime. We just have to make sure that we sustain.” Dallas continued its recent stellar stretch with a 114-110 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday and the Mavericks have topped 100 points in four of their past five games. Impressive rookie forward Luka Doncic (hip) was unable to play against the Clippers and is expected to return against Portland.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Northwest (Portland), FS Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (13-10): The 131 points allowed to the Spurs is the second most allowed by Portland this season behind the poor showing in a 143-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 21. The Trail Blazers are giving up 111.7 points per game and often are trying to outscore teams behind the offensive attack averaging 113 per contest. Star point guard Damian Lillard had 37 points and 10 assists against San Antonio for his third 30-point effort in four games and his third double-digit assist outing of the campaign.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (11-10): Second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. will be in the lineup but had a dentist appointment Monday after losing part of a tooth courtesy of an elbow from Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. “It’s just a freak accident,” Smith told reporters after the contest. “I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose. I’m sure that wasn’t his intentions, but it happens. Come back in, finish the game, we got a win. That’s all that matters. I love when the game gets like that. You can go out there, get mad, play with some intensity, heart. When it gets chippy, it’s just like playing back home. That’s the best way to play.” Small forward Harrison Barnes scored a season-high 30 points against Los Angeles and is averaging 24 over the last five games.
1. The Trail Blazers went 2-1 against the Mavericks last season to win the season series for the first time since 2009-10.
2. Dallas G J.J. Barea scored a season-best 24 points against the Clippers for his third 20-point performance of the campaign.
3. Portland G-F Evan Turner (Achilles) could miss his second straight game.