Tonight is the first night with Trevor Ariza (starting), Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan are all in uniform for the Portland Trail Blazers as they take on the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in a week. The Mavericks put a beating on the Blazers last Friday behind the eight three-pointers from Luka Doncic.
Damian Lillard makes a shot from half-court and we’re off and running tonight. Doesn’t look like there is going to be a slow start from him this evening. He has nine points in the first four minutes of the game. Don’t think any of his threes have hit the rim yet.
Luka Doncic is on fire early and this is not a good sign for the Blazers who are down nine points half way through the first quarter. Ariza has had one shot so far and has been in charge of guarding Luka. Seth Curry follows up with a steal from Simons and hits a transition three. The Blazers really miss his bench shooting. They haven’t had anyone who can match that so far this year.
Dallas is 7-10 from three to start the game and they run out early to a 27-13 lead.
Both teams have decided to not play defense tonight it looks like. Whoever makes the most shots tonight is going to win this one. The Mavs made ten threes in the first, Blazers made six, and the Mavs lead 45-37 after one quarter.
Jalen Brunson knocks down a three to start the second quarter. This is not going to be a good night at all for the Blazers. They are the worst team guarding the three-point line. Brunson adds two more for good measure and even freaking Justin Jackson drops a three.
Luka hurt his ankle slipping on the foot of Hassan Whiteside, but he sat for about eight minutes of game action and came back into the game. Whiteside is having a pretty quiet game for him so far, only six and two through the first half. He’s gotten a longer than normal break with Swanigan playing some decent minutes here in the half.
The Blazers have done a decent job on Kristaps Porzingis so far tonight. They haven’t even attempted to guard a single three point attempt tonight, but they are doing a decent job inside the stripe.
The Blazers’ defense does not appear to even be trying tonight. Luka has 20 points at the half, the Mavericks have 78, the bench has been outscored 31-10. There is zero good things to say about the Blazers’ defense so far. They were getting into a bit of a groove with Kent Bazemore in the starting lineup and outside of Whiteside he was their best defensive player and by far their best perimeter defensive player. Tonight the team is really missing that.
But then again, the Dallas Mavericks are the best scoring team in the league and they are going to score a lot of points no matter who it is against. Luka has killed Trevor Ariza, he’s gotten switches on to Whiteside and killed him too. There is just zero effort on defense.
The third quarter starts with each team exchanging three pointers. This is the exact opposite of what Terry Stotts wants happening tonight. Mavericks have pushed the lead up to 25 points. It might be time… oh Ariza and Dame have hit a couple of threes and the Blazers have cut the lead down to 14. Okay, back to paying attention.
Another set of threes by Dame and Ariza and the lead is down to eight, 93-85.
Dorian Finney-Smith breaks the 17-0 run by the Blazers by hitting a three in the corner by the Blazers bench. Speaking of the Blazers bench, they check-in and immediately give up two more threes and the deficit is firmly in the double digits again.
Damian Lillard does not get his normal rest to start the fourth quarter. Shocked that Stotts has altered his rotation. He has ten points in the first minutes of the quarter, so obviously this was a good move and we should not question Stotts ever again about his rotations.
Caleb Swanigan is hustling, but the dude is slow and needs to do everything he can not to be caught in a switch. Also, Jalen Brunson averages five points a game and has 17 tonight. He’s outscored the Portland bench by himself. That’s grand.
At least Damian Lillard got to dunk on Kristaps Porzingis.
Every time the Blazers made a run the Mavs just made one of their own and kept the Blazers at bay for the rest of the game. On the bright side of the Blazers bench, Gary Trent Jr. had 20 off the bench. He had 30 points against OKC on Friday.
Blazers have a few days off before they take on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.