Dallas Mavericks: 3 Questions Surrounding Portland in Dallas
By Isaac Harris
The Dallas Mavericks enter Sunday’s matchup with Portland with a must-win mentality as the Blazers are just a game and a half up in the Western Conference standings.
With the Mavericks losing six of their last seven games, their recent spiral downwards have the Mavericks at the 8th spot in the West while being just a game ahead of the Utah Jazz. With Portland just a game and a half ahead of the Mavs sitting in the 6th spot, the Mavs must capitalize on the first of two match-ups against the Blazers over the course of four days.
For Portland, they come into the match-up with a 36-34 record as they come off a victory against New Orleans on Friday night. With losing two of their last three, Portland comes into todays game in Dallas with the same motivation…increasing their spot in the Western Conference standings.
With injuries and playoff pictures in full swing, here are three questions surrounding the first match-up in Dallas.
1.) If no Parsons, then who?
Chandler Parsons exited the matchup against Golden State on Friday early in the third quarter with what people eventually found out to be a right hamstring injury. After Carlisle said they didn’t consider it to be serious, the Mavericks listed him as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Portland.
With the recent upgrade of injury status from doubtful to questionable, it is still unclear if Parsons will be able to play on Sunday. If he is able to go, it is safe to say he won’t be at his normal self throughout the game. So if Parsons is indeed unable to go, how do the Mavs replace him in the lineup?
Who will the Mavs start instead? Will they go back with Zaza Pachulia or start David Lee and go back to two big men in the starting unit? If I had to guess, Carlisle would start rookie Justin Anderson so he could keep his bench unit and rotation in place, similar to what he does with starting Charlie Villanueva when Nowitzki sits out for rest.
This will be a question that will be worth answering come game time.
2.) Will Matthews regain form against his old team?
Wesley Matthews is the highest paid player on the Dallas Mavericks and he simply hasn’t played up to the contract in his first year. The one thing that most people associate with Matthews, his three-point shooting, has been his biggest struggle over the past couple of games.
Of his last 40 three-point attempts, Matthews has only connected on 8 of them…yes, EIGHT. In Matthews last match-up against his old team, he shot 50% from behind the arc and added 18 points.
So can Matthews regain old form against the Blazers on Sunday? Will he find his shooting groove at home again? If I had to guess, Matthews will bounce back against Portland on Sunday and use his bigger frame against McCollum in the post. I predict a 20 point outing for Matthews on Sunday.
This will be a question worth answering come Sunday evening.
3.) Will Lillard hit the 30 point mark?
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The Portland Trail Blazers have won 10 out of their last 11 games when Damian Lillard scores 30 or more points, will the Mavericks hold him under 30 points on Sunday evening?
In the last match-up between the two teams in December, Lillard put up 25 points in the overtime loss to Dallas at home. It was actually Deron Williams who outscored the point guard with 30 points on the night for himself. The matchup between the two will be worth monitoring again on Sunday as both teams look to fight for the playoffs.
If I had to guess, Dallas will keep Lillard just under 3o points and pull out the victory at home. This will be a question worth answering come Sunday evening.
With the Mavericks facing Portland on Sunday and again on Wednesday, these two games are crucial considering the slide the Mavs have been on over the past two weeks.