Losers of their last two, the Dallas Mavericks head into Portland to take on the Blazers who are seeking their third-straight victory.
The Dallas Mavericks (15-30) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (24-21) Saturday night at Moda Center. Game time is at 10:00 p.m. ET. This will be the first time the teams meet this season.
Dallas has struggled away from home, as told by their 6-15 road record. Meanwhile, Portland boasts a 12-10 home record. The Mavericks will need to focus on two key factors to have any chance of pulling the upset tonight.
Don’t Get Caught In A Tight Game Late
No stranger to late-game theatrics, Dallas tends to find themselves in plenty of close games. In games decided by three points, the Mavericks are 2-5. To take it further, they are 7-23 in games where they trailed by five points or less within the final five minutes.
Between Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the chances of Portland coming out on top in a tight game are exceptionally high.
If Dallas wants to win tonight, it would behoove them to create enough separation on the scoreboard late in the fourth. Avoid a shootout at all costs.
Limit Nurkic On The Glass
Since the trade that brought him to Portland from Denver last February, Jusuf Nurkic has been nothing short of amazing. This season, he is averaging 8 rebounds but that doesn’t tell the entire story. When he’s in a groove, the 7-foot center can dominate opposing teams and grab upwards of 15 rebounds.
Thursday night, against the Indiana Pacers, Nurkic went off for 19 points while bringing down 17 rebounds.
Dallas is currently tied for No. 28 in team rebounds per game. Adversely, Portland is tied for No. 8. Losing the rebounding battle against Portland allows their dynamic backcourt more scoring opportunities than Dallas can afford.
Of course, there are more factors that may lead to a Portland victory. However, The aforementioned points of emphasis give Dallas the best chance of bridging the gap with a tough opponent like Portland.
As always, go Mavs!