Mavericks crushed by lack of big man depth in loss to Blazers without Christian Wood

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 136-119 on Saturday night as Damian Lillard went off for 36 points to snap his team’s five-game losing streak. Luka Doncic and his teammates were coming off a wild double-overtime win over the Lakers on Thursday night, and the 23-year-old’s legs looked a bit heavy at the Moda Center. Doncic finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and ten assists, but he was just seven of 19 from the field and only made one of his six free throws.

Christian Wood injured his ankle in overtime on Thursday night in Los Angeles, but he stayed in the game and made multiple key plays to help Dallas win. The 6’10 big man’s ankle injury kept him out on Saturday night. With Maxi Kleber already out, their lack of big man depth was a massive problem in the loss.

Dwight Powell dealt with foul trouble in the first half, and the team’s lack of big man was on full display as Portland erupted for 136 points and held a massive edge on the boards. The two teams square off again on Sunday night, and their issues inside will remain, especially if C-Wood needs to miss his second straight game.

Mavericks' lack of big man depth on full display in loss to Blazers without Christian Wood

Dallas started Dwight Powell at the five on Saturday night, but they were forced to go small around him with Reggie Bullock taking Wood’s place. Bullock had his best game of the season as he scored 24, including nailing eight 3-pointers.

The Mavs did not have a trusted big man to go to behind Powell. DP picked up four first-half fouls, but head coach Jason Kidd was forced to leave him out there with three because his team had nobody else.

JaVale McGee played eight minutes off the bench. His numbers were strong, but Dallas was outscored by eight points with him on the floor. The Blazers were spacing the floor and shooting lights out from 3-point range, which made it difficult to keep McGee in the game.

The Mavericks shot the ball well as their offense was not the problem on Saturday night. They shot 52.4 percent from the field and 47.8 percent on their threes, but they could not get stops. Dallas has struggled defensively without Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Josh Green, and things were worse in Portland. The Blazers could not miss as they cruised to a blowout victory.

The Mavs are the worst rebounding team in the league this season, and that problem remained on Jan. 14. Portland had a 47 to 25 edge on the glass, including a ten to two advantage in offensive boards.

Things got worse in the fourth quarter as Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a left ankle injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the game. It did not look good, and THJ will likely miss at least Sunday’s contest. 

Portland was guarding Luka Doncic full court and double-teaming often on Saturday night as he had one of his worst games of the season. Can number 77 bounce back in the second meeting on Sunday evening? Luka has been sitting on the second nights of back-to-backs often this season, and he looked worn out in this loss. Be on the lookout to see if Doncic plays on Jan. 15.

The two teams lock horns again on Sunday night back at the Moda Center. Can the Dallas Mavericks get a bit of revenge over the Trail Blazers? Tune in to find out.

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