Saturday night, the 12-8 Dallas Mavericks took on the surprise of the league in the 17-3 Portland Trail Blazers. Throughout the beginning of this season, Dallas had put together some great games as they look to continue to build chemistry between their restructured roster.
Having not won more than two games in a row all season long, the Mavericks had the opportunity to win their third straight over a Portland team that had won four in a row coming into Saturday, and 15 of their last 16.
Behind an excellent night from the field, the Mavericks were able to get their first three-game winning streak this season. As a team, Dallas shot 52.9 percent from the field on the night, led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 28 points. Nowitzki was 12-for-22 from the field including making three of his four from downtown and also chipped in seven assists and six rebounds.
Monta Ellis, the team’s biggest offseason acquisition, poured in 20 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Both DeJuan Blair and Jose Calderon added 15 points apiece, as well as eight rebounds and seven assists respectively.
With a win over the Blazers, Dallas is now riding the most momentum they have had all season long. Not only have they put together three straight victories, but this one comes at the hand of one of the league’s best. Portland has been solid all season long behind the play of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. The Blazers gave the Mavericks all they could handle behind Lillard’s 32 points, but in the end Dallas did just enough to come away with a 108-106 win.
In a Western Conference that is as competitive as it’s been in a while, the Mavericks are looking to get right back into the thick of title contention. They certainly have the offensive firepower to get it done, but have struggled defensively. A victory over a potent Blazers’ offense — currently ranked 2nd in the league — should give Dallas the confidence it needs going forward. If Rick Carlisle’s squad can continue to play like they did Saturday night, they could very well end up vying for a championship after all.