The Dallas Mavericks head to the Moda Center to take on the injury-riddled Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night at 10 ET. In the previous matchup between these two teams, Dallas, without Luka Doncic, took down Portland, who had Damian Lillard, thanks to a 34 point outburst from Kristaps Porzingis. In the rematch, the Mavericks will have Luka Doncic available and the Blazers will not have the services of Damian Lillard, which completely shifts the outlook of both of these teams.
In the last ten games for the Dallas Mavericks, they’ve gone 7-3 and have boasted a NET Rating of +3.7, which is top ten in that timespan. The biggest surprise for the Mavericks this season in comparison to the past is their defensive improvements. So far this season, Dallas ranks top 5 in defensive rating and their defense has been outperforming their offense and has been the main catalyst for their success.
How the Mavericks can win:
Right back at it in the City of Roses.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 26, 2022
For Dallas, the formula is quite simple.
The Portland Trail Blazers for years have been one of the league’s worst defenses and they’ve carried that tradition to the new year. Although Dallas hasn’t been historically great offensively this year as they have been in the past, they still have a good enough offense to take down Portland. Their offense is spearheaded by one of the best offensive engines in all of basketball in Luka Doncic and with his creation ability, Dallas will have a relatively easy time converting looks and taking advantage of Portland’s extremely mediocre defense.
How the Trail Blazers can win:
Anfernee Simons over his last 8 games:
He’s the future 🔥 pic.twitter.com/jogeloPxwL
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 20, 2022
Things have certainly looked brighter in Rip City.
With Damian Lillard out with injury for the foreseeable future and Portland as a team not being able to find much consistency offensively and having one of the worst defenses in the league, things look pretty bleak.
However, not all is down in Stumptown.
The breakout of young star Anfernee Simons is something Blazer fans have to be optimistic about. Eleven games into the new year, Simons has averaged 24.3 points per game and 7.2 assists per game on 62.2% true shooting and has filled the void that has been left by Damian Lillard to a certain extent. For Portland to win, it will take a miracle, but based on the way Simons has played this month, including a 43 point outburst against Atlanta on the 3rd of January, miraculous things are not out of the realm of possibilities.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Portland Trail Blazers +4.5, (+168) Money Line
Dallas Mavericks -4.5, (-200) Money Line
Final Prediction: Dallas Mavericks 116, Portland Trail Blazers 104