Wednesday night in Dallas, the Portland Trail Blazers were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks, 126-97. The fact that the Blazers were never able to stay up with the Mavericks meant that the game was always certain. During the starters’ stint, Dallas simply destroyed Portland, building a 30-point lead as early as the third quarter.
There isn’t really any gameplay to analyze here as a result. The Blazers, who rank among the worst clubs in the league, had a particularly poor performance tonight. Nearly at full strength, the Mavericks didn’t mess around tonight and didn’t allow Portland to enter the game. It’s the kind of victory you want to see from a team aiming to guarantee themselves a playoff seed in the top six.
With 41 points, Luka Doncic led all scorers. In addition to his 29 points, Kyrie Irving pulled down nine rebounds. Off the bench, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14 points. With sixteen, Shaedon Sharpe led the Blazers.
Getting over the rust, Kyrie
Irving looked good in his return game, particularly in the opening minutes. After halftime, he scored 22 points. It appeared that the other member of the Mavericks’ all-star backcourt was performing at a level similar to his pre-injury levels. In order to remain competitive and allow Doncic some time off, Dallas is in dire need of his production. Irving will most certainly regain his rhythm if he plays two exhibition games against Portland.
The Mavericks frequently reached the line
The Mavericks had very little chance of losing to the Blazers tonight. They made 50% of their shots overall and 43% from long range. They nevertheless put their heads down, drove to the rim, and forced fouls in spite of this. 41 free throws were made by them. They only shot 70% on these free throws, sadly, as the same old Dallas free throw ghosts continued to haunt them at the charity stripe. Fortunately, it was irrelevant tonight.
Yet another twist to Lively’s ankle
With his ankle twisted, Lively went down in the third quarter. He left the game, and the Mavericks diagnosed it as a sprained ankle. Following an ankle sprain against these same Blazers a few weeks prior, Lively has already missed four games. Throughout his absence, Dallas truly missed having him in the paint. Naturally, Jason Kidd hasn’t seemed to remember that Richaun Holmes is a member of the team, so even though Dwight Powell will be available, the Mavericks’ big man rotation will be seriously jeopardized if Lively misses any more games.