Two of the league's top-ten offenses matchup again on Sunday after the Portland Trail Blazers narrowly won an exciting affair against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Their second of a two-game mini-series will take place once again at the Moda Center, where the Trail Blazers have won two-thirds of their fixtures.
The Dallas Mavericks have gone 3-3 since the midseason break, although they now take on a run of games in which 6 of their next 8 opponents have losing records. They will be looking for revenge after their 4th quarter collapse cost them against the Portland Trail Blazers despite Luka Doncic's 38 points.
Fixture: Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Sunday, March 21st, 2021 10:00 PM ET. (Monday 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Dallas Mavericks Preview
The Dallas Mavericks are expected to make the playoffs but are going to get there by the skin of their teeth at their current pace. After 40 games, the Mavs are only just above .500 and have been inconsistent on home court this season.
With Kristaps Porzingis back in the side, Dallas is better off and will win more games, however he is one among many Mavs players that are currently underperforming on defense. Porzingis has a -1.1 defensive box score below the league average and is struggling to protect the lane as fans have been used to seeing.
If the Dallas Mavericks are to improve on their first-round exit in the playoffs, they have a long way to go, particularly if they end up facing the top seed.
Key Player - Luka Doncic
Even the Portland Trail Blazers' incessant pressuring and double-team defensive tactics weren't enough to stop Doncic from lighting up the box score on Friday. The Slovenian guard has averaged 27.6 points in the five games he has played since starting in the All-Star game, including two triple-doubles.
In that time, he has led the Dallas Mavericks to victories over the Nuggets and Clippers, though still needs help on the offensive end if the Mavs are to make a serious run in the playoffs this year.
Doncic is playing some of the best basketball of his young career and will be in contention for the MVP award come May. The 22-year old leads the league in assists and usage percentages and is shooting at career-high rates from the field and 3-point range.
Dallas Mavericks Predicted Lineup
G Luka Doncic, G Josh Richardson, F Tim Hardaway Jr., F Maxi Kleber, C Kristaps Porzingis
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
As Portland Trail Blazers fans have come accustomed to, their side is fighting through adversity in the way of injuries and are sitting pretty with a 25-16 record. Portland's offense has been the main cause of that, with their most regular starting lineup creating a net rating of +15.5 across 25 games.
Carmelo Anthony has led the Portland Trail Blazers bench unit with 14.2 points a night and is by far more efficient than in his previous two seasons as a starter. Enes Kanter has also been more productive than last year after stepping in to replace the injured Jusuf Nurkic.
While Portland will be looking forward to Nurkic's return, this is yet another reminder of the strength in depth they will have going into the playoffs.
Key Player - Damian Lillard
To counteract Luka Doncic's heroics will be the Portland Trail Blazers' key weapon on offense, Damian Lillard. The 30-year old's MVP candidacy grew in stature recently after putting up 35 points a night after the league's hiatus - topped off by a stunning 50-point piece in a one-point win against the Pelicans.
On Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks, Lillard had his old backcourt partner CJ McCollum at his best in his third game since returning from injury. The two combined for 63 points on the night and will be pivotal in propelling the Portland Trail Blazers toward a successful postseason.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G CJ McCollum, F Derrick Jones Jr., F Robert Covington, C Enes Kanter
Mavericks vs Trail Blazers Match Prediction
What more could fans want than another enthralling matchup with some of the best guards in the league on the court. This is expected to be another high-scoring matchup, though the Dallas Mavericks will need an improved offensive output from Kristaps Porzingis if they are to come away victorious.
With their starting lineup almost back to full strength, the Portland Trail Blazers are going to be serious contenders for a top-4 spot in the West and should just about take this fixture again.
Where to watch the Mavericks vs Trail Blazers Matchup
Fans can catch Sunday's marquee matchup on Fox Sports Southwest and NBC Sports Southwest. Otherwise, you can stream the game live with an NBA League Pass.