The Dallas Mavericks, losers of their last three games, are in a rut.
That much is obvious.
But how the Mavericks dig themselves out of this particular rut is the question head coach Rick Carlisle is running out of time to find the answer to. It doesn’t help either that the Mavericks’ schedule at this dire time has reached perhaps its most difficult point, beginning tonight at 8:30 p.m. with a duel at home against the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers.
The Mavericks basically have to find a way to be like the Trail Blazers, who have won six of their previous seven games. Portland, though, started the NBA season near the top of the Western Conference standings but dropped off big time near the end of January. For Dallas, finding a way to bounce back like the Trail Blazers have will not be an easy task.
Aside from elite point guard Damian Lillard, a big part of the Trail Blazers’ resurgence has been starting center Robin Lopez, who has posted double-digit rebounds in seven of the Trail Blazers’ previous 12 games, including a whopping 16 in a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Lopez figures to grab down at least 20 rebounds against the Mavericks’ feeble interior. Of course, the Mavericks always need to sleep with one eye open whenever they play the Trail Blazers because of superstar power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is due to regain his beast-like form after missing some time recently with a groin injury.
Containing Lopez and Aldridge is a tall task for a Dallas team that couldn’t play defense if their life depended on it, but that’s what the Mavericks need to do — play like their lives depended on it. Otherwise, the Mavericks may never get out of this rut they’re in.