The Dallas Mavericks will make their first appearances of the season in the Rose Garden tonight to take on a Portland Trail Blazers squad that is 3-7 in its last 10 games.
Just to refresh you, Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts was an assistant in Dallas and helped them win the franchise's only NBA title in 2011.
This is the second meeting between these two teams. The Mavericks (19-25) handed the Trail Blazers (22-22) a whopping 114-91 defeat in early November up in the Big D.
The Trail Blazers were only down four to start the fourth quarter off, but fell into a miserable shooting slump and ended up getting outscored 31-12 in the final quarter.
“We were in a funk,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. “We didn't execute and it cost us.”
LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews led the Trail Blazers with 20 points apiece. Nicolas Batum put in 14 points and five rebounds while Lillard contributed 13 points and five assists.
The Mavericks were without their superstar in Dirk Nowitzki who was recovering from knee surgery. The 15-year vet is still trying to work himself into game-shape posting numbers of 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and shooting 41 percent from the field in 17 games this season.
Considering the Mavericks are getting healthy, they could be a force in Western Conference that might give teams problems in the second half of the season. The Trail Blazers are sitting a game and a half out of the eighth and final playoff spot behind Houston with the Mavericks exactly three games behind the Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers and Mavericks have split the last 12 regular season meetings dating back to the 2009-10 season.
“It's always a competitive game when we play the Mavs,” Aldridge said. “As long as we come out aggressive first, we should put ourselves in position to win the game.”
Tonight's game will mark the first of a four-game road trip for the Mavericks.
After tonight's game, the Trail Blazers have a home-and-home, back-to-back matchup with the Utah Jazz beginning in Utah on Friday.
Tonight's game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m. and 1190 AM/102.3 FM KEX radio.