Usually when the Portland Trail Blazers play our Dallas Mavericks everyone focuses on the power forward duel between Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge will play full force, but Nowitzki will continue cheering his guys on suited up behind the Mavs bench.
This time around the most entertaining matchup should come at point guard. It won’t be the elder duo of two years ago that featured Jason Kidd and Andre Miller. Instead the Blazers’ No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft Damian Lillard and Mavs’ fourth-year guard Darren Collison have been every bit the floor leaders their respective teams have needed.
Lillard has shown himself more than worthy of where the Blazers selected him, making his early case for Rookie of the Year. In three games this season the multi-talented guard out of Weber State has remarkable averages of 21.3 points, 9.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Collison himself has put up early career bests in three games for Dallas (17.3 points, 7.0 assists and 1.7 steals).
The game speed has increased for the Mavericks and it’s a more than welcome sight. Collison’s up-tempo style helps teammates like Shawn Marion and Vince Carter in more ways than one. Whether it is on the break or in the half court, Collison wreaks havoc on opponents when he’s penetrating and creating for his team. O.J. Mayo nailed a career-high seven 3-pointers on his way to his first 30-point game since 2009 Saturday night, a 126-99 rout over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Mayo knows whom to thank for his breakout performance and success going forward:
“Darren Collison. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He was getting in that lane and I had an opportunity to knock down some open shots. I knocked them down tonight.”
The Mavs did have a welcome return of center Chris Kaman. In 20 minutes off the bench, Kaman produced a solid 16 points (8-9 FG) and grabbed four rebounds.
“I had some easy put-ins. Ultimately, I was frustrated with the rebounding. I thought I could have done a little bit better of a job there.” – Kaman on his return performance
The regular season debuts of Kaman and recently-signed Troy Murphy did help the Mavs rebounding effort as they together combined for nine boards in 29 minutes and the team out-rebounded the Bobcats as a result. The Mavs work on the glass ought to improve as Kaman and Murphy see more playing time.
Dallas and Portland met three times last season with the Mavs coming away with two wins, but no game was decided by more than three points. These teams provide fans with quality basketball and tonight will not be any different.
Guard Roddy Beaubois (ankle) will be a game-time decision.
Catch the game action, tip at 7:30 p.m. CT and airs locally on Fox Sport Southwest.
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