The Dallas Mavericks were shorthanded as they headed to Portland to face the Trail Blazers for a two-game set. Dorian Finney-Smith (personal) and James Johnson (health and safety) were both out. That left Dallas light on the defensive end against one of the league’s best offenses.
Willie Cauley-Stein was also ruled out before tipoff. Coach Rick Carlisle noted that Trill had to quarantine because of potential close contact. It appears the Mavericks backup big man will miss at least one week of action to keep everyone safe.
Dallas missed Cauley-Stein on Friday night as the Trail Blazers dominated the fourth quarter to pick up the 125-119 victory. Here is a look at why the Mavs need Cauley-Stein back in the lineup as soon as possible.
Dallas Mavericks missed Willie Cauley-Stein in loss to Trail Blazers
It was a hot shooting night for Portland on their home floor. They hit 22 of their 47 3-point attempts. The Mavericks struggled to defend Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as both stars went for 30-plus on Friday night. Dallas is hoping Dorian Finney-Smith returns for Sunday’s second meeting against the Blazers to help on the perimeter.
The second unit also struggled in Portland. Dwight Powell failed to score as the Blazers outscored Dallas by six in his 12 minutes of action. The Mavs needed Willie Cauley-Stein’s energy and hustle. The Blazers went small in their second unit using Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Jones Jr. at the five. Cauley-Stein’s size could have thrown a wrench into those matchups.
The Dallas Mavericks will be without Willie Cauley-Stein for the second straight meeting against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. They will need a monster performance from Luka Doncic and some improved defense to top the Blazers. Do not miss what promises to be a fun and exciting contest in Portland on March 21.