The Dallas Mavericks will be competing against many talented Western Conference teams for a playoff spot. How do they compare with the Portland Trail Blazers?
This year, the Western Conference looks to be just as competitive and talented as last year with many of the same teams, and some new ones, looking to make their mark on the postseason. One of the teams that will fight the Mavs for a spot again will be the Portland Trail Blazers.
Last Season Performance
Dallas: Last season the Mavs went 42-40 with an underwhelming roster, yet again led by Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas ended up securing the 6th seed in the West, but lost to the Thunder in the first round 4-1.
Portland: In the 2105-16 season the Trail Blazers, led by their dynamic guard combo in Damian Lillard and most improved player C.J. McCollum, went 44-38 in the regular season, which earned them the 5th seed in the West. They won in the first round 4-2 against an injury ravaged Clippers team, and then lost in the second round to the Warriors 4-1.
Dallas: As per the usual in the past few years, Mark Cuban shook up the Mavs roster significantly.
After Dallas missed out on their first big name free agent targets, they reaped the benefits of the notorious KD move by obtaining Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut from Golden State. Some other notable additions are Seth Curry and Quincy Acy. While the Mavs brought in an influx of new young talent, they lost Zaza Pachulia, Raymond Felton, Chandler Parsons, and David Lee.
How They Match Up
The Mavericks and Trail Blazers look to have some interesting and dynamic battles this season. Both of these teams will likely have a similar amount of success this year, but will come by it very different ways.
Dallas, while they did sign some young players, are still led by their veterans. Dirk, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, and now Andrew Bogut look to lead the Mavs to success. For the Trail Blazers, it will be their young core of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who will try to lead them to the promised land.
Lillard will look to take advantage of his matchup with Deron Williams and the Mavs other PGs, most of whom aren’t known for being elite defenders. Lillard’s athleticism and quickness will give him plenty of long-range opportunities, in which he excels. However, Williams may be able to take advantage of Dame’s smaller frame and get to the hole.
Wesley Matthews, another year removed from his Achilles injury, looks to improve his performance this season. Against Portland, his former team, Matthews will probably be more aggressive as he has a better knowledge of how the team plays. His battle against his old team will make this match up more personal and exciting to watch.
One area where the Mavs have a decided advantage is in the post. Andrew Bogut is a better big man than anyone on Potland’s roster, including his former teammate and new Blazer acquisition Festus Ezeli. Also, Portland doesn’t have anyone capable of guarding Dirk. The Big German has an opportunity to have a field day against this Blazer team like he did last year when he put up 40 points.
The Mavericks and Trail Blazers will be fighting for the mid to low Western Conference playoff spots, and this will be an important match up to keep your eyes on this upcoming season.