The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for a Western Conference clash between the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers.
13:30 (AEDT), Sat 18th Jan @ American Airlines Center, Dallas
History: Played 178: Trail Blazers 96 V Mavericks 82
Last meeting: October 27, 2019: Trail Blazers 121 d Mavericks 119 at American Airlines Center
Final Thoughts: The Dallas Mavericks are aiming for four straight wins when they host a Portland Trail Blazers outfit that has also found some form this week.
The Mavericks are sixth in the NBA’s Western Conference after a run of nine losses in 16 games. But they have got back on track with three consecutive wins against the 76ers (109-91), Warriors (124-97) and Kings (127-123).
Luka Doncic racked up 25 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists against the Kings. But the Mavs are sweating on the return of Kristaps Porzingis, who has again been ruled out.
The 18-24 Trail Blazers are 10th in the West. After a terrible period of just two wins in 10 games, they have won their last two against the Hornets (115-112) and Rockets (117-107).
Damian Lillard (25 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast), Hassan Whiteside (18 pts, 18 reb) and Carmelo Anthony (18 pts, 12 reb) were outstanding as the Blazers pulled off their upset in Houston.
Blazers one-nil this season
The Trail Blazers already have an upset in Dallas to their name this season, edging the Mavs 121-119 during the opening week of their campaign.
CJ McCollum and Lillard combined for 63 points for the Blazers. Big all-round performances from Doncic (29 pts, 12 reb, 9 ast) and Porzingis (32 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast) were not enough for the hosts.
Portland have won six of their last nine against Dallas overall. The early-season result snapped a three-game losing run at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks are a modest 12-10 at home. The Blazers are just 9-14 on the road.
This is a game the Mavs should find a way to close out. But they have performed poorly against the line of late (2-7-1 in their last 10 at home) and the Blazers look a sound option with a big start.
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