Mavs GAMEDAY vs. Blazers: Big NBA playoff implications
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Dallas Mavericks face a Portland Trail Blazers team fighting for their NBA playoff lives. The Mavs rested starters Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith vs. the Jazz on Monday night… Each should be roaring to go and are expected to play in the prime time Western Conference clash.
This afternoon, however, one change - and a downgrade: Dallas sharpshooter Seth Curry, who played last year with Portland, is now OUT due to his leg problem.
The Blazers are jousting with three other teams in contention for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. To finish at No. 9 or higher, Portland needs to win its two remaining games.
Damian Lillard is fresh off a 51-point performance in the Blazers 124-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Lillard's eighth 50+ point game of the season. Lillard and CJ McCollum are are one of the best backcourt duos in the league, so, why the sudden Portland emergence in the NBA restart? The Blazers welcomed back two seven-footers in Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic to their starting lineup, Gary Trent Jr. is "Mr. Bubble Breakout" and Carmello Anthony has shined in the clutch.
Speaking of MVP-type work, Doncic is officially the NBA's triple-double king. After another eye-popping stat line in the Mavs overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the second-year guard became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the NBA outright in triple-doubles.
The 21-year-old owns a league best 17 triple-doubles this season.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talks a great deal about "resiliency'' as an important basketball asset. With just a few days of seeding games left in the NBA Bubble before the playoffs are launched, his team is certainly proving that to be true.
How so? We all assumed they were "locked into'' seventh in the west, and they certainly wore that honor with pride ... while at the same team vowing to continue to try to push their way up in the standings.
"To be in (the playoffs) and be assured of the seventh position is good,” Carlisle said early in the bubble process. “But we came here to move up.”.
And look at them now: After a jumble of a few days of unusual results - including Dallas' come-from-behind upset of Utah on Monday - the Mavs are in the mix for the No. 6 seed or even higher.
*The Mavs can get the No. 5-seed if: Dallas wins out (games against Portland, Phoenix), OKC loses out (Miamia, Los Angeles Clippers), Utah loses out (San Antonio Spurs).
*The Mavs can achieve the No. 6-seed if: Dallas wins out AND Utah loses out -or- Dallas wins out and OKC loses out.
*The Mavs settle into the No. 7-seed if: Dallas loses one of last two games -or- both Utah and OKC win another game.
GAME TIME: 5:30 p.m. CT on August 11, 2020
LOCATION: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports Southwest/TNT, ESPN 103.3 FM, Univision 1270 AM
RECORDS: Mavericks (43-30, 7th in the West), Blazers (33-39, 9th in the West)