Who would have thought Portland would be sitting so close to .500 after 23 games, based on their hot beginning? This sport is all about runs, and Portland is on a bit of a downward slope right now.
Dallas, on the other hand, has to be ecstatic about where they are. Despite being hit by the injury bug throughout the season, their stars have them out to an 11-10 start and look like a legitimate playoff contender.
A few losses in a row have this team down to 13-10, and wishing they had re-signed Pat Connaughton rather than let him sign with the Bucks. Dame has done what he usually does with his 27 ppg and 6 apg, while McCollum is around 21.5 ppg. Jusuf Nurkic has continued to impress in limited action, with a 15-10 average in only 26 minutes per night. They tend to use Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard a fair amount and like to keep Nurk as well-rested as they can going into the late quarters.
Their impressive bench play has slowed a bit, and the team has looked a little off with Harkless now starting in place of Jake Layman, who is seeing no time. His ability to drive it to the rack and hit the three-ball is surely missed. Nevertheless, this team will always go as their star backcourt does. If CJ and Dame have an off-day, it is very hard to see them winning, based on how much they each need to dominate the ball to be successful.
Led by the impressive play of rookie Luka Doncic (who they were wise to trade for), the team is over .500, and second in the Southwest division. He’s averaging 18.5-6.5-4.3 and is really looking like a star. A kid that has been playing professionally for years since his time as a young teen, he is the real deal. Harrison Barnes has been doing his thing as a clutch scorer for the Mavs and is averaging 18.3 ppg. Dennis Smith has clearly regressed this year, but as the team is looking better, it is what it is. JJ Barea leads the team with 5.9 assists per game off the bench.
DeAndre Jordan has also come up big, including having a late go-ahead tip-in basket against his old team (the Clipper) to help power Dallas to the win. He’s averaging 13.7 boards and a block per game and is doing just what he expected him to do here. An underrated piece of this team, Maxi Kleber, from the same hometown as Dirk Nowitzki, is averaging 1.4 blocks per game and shooting 46% from the floor. He is the most underrated piece of this team.
Mavs knock off Portland at home
We’re riding with the Mavs, as they pick up their 12th win of the year. Luka Doncic, the western conference rookie of the month(!!!), will power his team to the W.
Sorry, Portland. Not today.
Free Pick: Mavs
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