Preview: Mavs seek revenge vs. Aldridge, Blazers to begin homestand
Preview: Trail Blazers (25-23) at Mavericks (20-28)
Mavs seek revenge vs. Aldridge, Blazers to begin homestand
DALLAS — Returning home with just one win to show for their four-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks will now try to build momentum heading into the All-Star break with four games at the American Airlines Center to wrap up play.
The first of those four home matchups comes against the Portland Trail Blazers, the same team that sent the Mavericks (20-28) packing to begin their road trip after All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge’s game-winning jumper as time expired to down the Dallas squad to a 106-104 defeat. Now, the Mavs will have an opportunity to get even while looking to replicate a 114-91 home rout of the Blazers back on Nov. 5, hoping to also begin their hike up the Western Conference standings as they prepare for a second-half push towards the playoffs.
“We have an extended period at home now and it’s very important obviously,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said while looking ahead to seven of the next eight games in Dallas. “We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play well, to play efficiently and play to get our crowd into the game, because that’s what creates I think the kind of energy we need to play well.”
“Well, we feel like we owe Portland,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added after missing two games with a strained right adductor prior to a return in Oklahoma City. “Obviously, we feel we let one get away there last week. We were right there and should have won that game. They stole it from us, so we’ve got to be prepared for a fun game.”
Last Tuesday night, the Mavericks jumped out to a lead as large as 21 in the third quarter before admittedly falling apart going down the stretch. The loss wasted a 50-percent shooting night as a team and Nowitzki’s season-high 26 points on 11-of-21 from the field to lead all five starters in double figures.
Wednesday night, however, the Mavericks hope to get the same offensive production from their franchise player, who scored just 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting with center Chris Kaman still out with a concussion and sixth man Vince Carter sidelined with a sickness during Monday’s 112-91 loss in Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, the team hopes to somehow contain Aldridge at the other end of the floor, after the Seagoville native tallied up 29 points to go with 13 rebounds before hitting the shot to win it over big man Brandan Wright at the buzzer.
“They got some momentum, got their home crowd into it and, you know, LaMarcus hit two big shots. He hit a step-back 3, his first 3 all year, and hit a turnaround contested jumper at the buzzer. Obviously, we shouldn’t have got to that point, but we did, and we’ve just got to pretty much move on,” leading scorer O.J. Mayo said while looking back at the loss.
“It’s disappointing,” Carlisle added, “but there were a lot of things that happened during the course of the entire second half that led to them being able to take the game. Again, we’ve got to focus in on every single thing on every possession the entire game … and it’s big. We’ve got to get every game we can get.”
The Mavs surrendered 23 points off 14 giveaways in Oklahoma City, falling to 6-20 when committing at least 14 turnovers. Better protection of the ball will top Dallas’ priority list Wednesday night as the Mavericks also try to capitalize on Portland’s mistakes, after the Blazers committed 28 turnovers, the most during a regulation game by any team all season, Monday during their 100-98 win in Minnesota.
Note: The Mavericks will return to action when they welcome in the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. The two teams are tied at 1-1 in the season series. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.