The Dallas Mavericks hit the road hoping to get back on the winning track when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
In their last game against the Clippers on Tuesday night, bad luck kicked in for the Mavericks. Dwight Powell, the team’s starting center who signed an extension last summer, suffered a torn Achilles, and his season has ended prematurely. They are now reportedly looking at the open market to see who’s there, while also exploring trade avenues for his replacement.
Maxi Kleber and Kristaps Porzingis can both hold it down, but without a third strong big man, it will veer the rotation a bit. Changes will be coming soon.
Portland, on the other hand, decided it was time to make a trade to address its lack of healthy bodies and forward depth. The Trail Blazers sent Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to the Kings in exchange for Trevor Ariza (likely to start Thursday night), Caleb Swanigan, and swingman Wenyen Gabriel.
While CJ McCollum has been out, there has been added pressure on Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. to score big points while taking his minutes next to Damian Lillard. This team is not where it wants to be at this point, but the playoffs are within reach.
The visiting Mavericks are two-point favorites for the Thursday night showdown. The over/under is set at 229.5.
Dallas Looks To Bounce Back
Luka Doncic has continued to post big numbers and help Dallas stay competitive under tough circumstances. Losing your starting center to a torn Achilles mid-game is never easy, especially when he plays such a vital role in keeping the offense in rhythm. Kleber is a strong player who plays just like Powell, but he’s better in a role off the bench with the second unit.
The Mavericks remain without the injured Ryan Broekhoff, who could certainly help them with his three-point stroke when healthy.
Porzingis continues to play outside the arc with a lack of drives, as his coach wants. There isn’t a reason for him not to post up several times per game, though, as his game is being deprived by making him play outside only.
Trying To Get Past Injuries
Rodney Hood tore his Achilles 22 games ago. Nurkic is yet to play. Skal Labissiere is currently out. Zach Collins is out for another month or longer, but the Trail Blazers are staying in the hunt.
Lillard is averaging 27 points and seven assists per game, coming off a game in which he scored 61 to lift his short-handed team past the Warriors. McCollum might come back after suffering a nasty-looking ankle injury a few weeks ago, and if he does, it could give the offense a significant boost.
Hassan Whiteside is having a marvelous year, averaging nearly 16 points and 15 rebounds with three blocks per night. His game has been on another level in Portland with all the opportunities.
Portland Comes Away With Home Win
It will be another big night for Lillard as he will lift the Trail Blazers to a win over Dallas. Take Portland +2.
Free Play: POR +2
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