NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 7th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (42-19) at Dallas Mavericks (36-26), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers embark on a long road trip through the south of America, starting Friday night when they visit the Dallas Mavericks.
Portland will also travel to the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans. The Trail Blazers are 18-11 on the road this season.
The Blazers went 3-1 on a recent homestand and earned a victory last time out, a 102-78 drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
Nicolas Batum scored 14 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who ended Atlanta's Kyle Korver's streak of 127 straight games making a 3-pointer.
"He's a jack of all trades and we're feeding off of that," Wesley Matthews said of Batum.
Mo Williams paced the Blazers with 15 points, while Damian Lillard and Robin Lopez each tallied 12 points in the win, Portland's sixth in its last seven contests.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Matthews contributed 10 points apiece for the Blazers.
The Mavericks have lost three straight and are clinging to postseason life. They are a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns for the seventh seed, but only a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies to stay in eighth.
This recent slide came on the heels of a four-game win streak, but Dallas lost its last home game, a 100-91 setback to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 28.
The Mavericks' most recent loss came Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center when the Denver Nuggets ended a six-game losing streak with a 115-110 victory.
Dirk Nowitzki shot 13-of-20 for 27 points, but Dallas suffered its third straight defeat for the first time this season. Brandan Wright and Vince Carter tallied 18 and 17 points, respectively, in reserve roles, and Monta Ellis scored 16, followed by 15 from Shawn Marion.
The Nuggets jumped all over the Mavs, winning the first quarter, 41-34. Denver led by as many as 17 during that first 12-minute frame.
"I take full responsibility for this loss. At the beginning of the game we weren't into it and it was my mistake," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. "I should have subbed all the guys out of the game that were in there that gave up 12 points in three and a half minutes, or whatever it was. Not doing that was my mistake."
Things don't get easier for the Mavericks. They host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, then hit the road for three straight.
The two teams split two meetings this season with the visitor prevailing both times. Dallas has won six of the last nine regular-season matchups, but is just 2-2 as the host in this series.
03/07 10:30:59 ET