I remember when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat for the 2011 NBA Championship. This is not that team. The Mavs currently sit at 19-25 behind the 22-22 Blazers, led not by Dirk Nowitzki but O.J. Mayo. Nowitzki recently returned from missing the first 27 games of the season, sidelined by a knee injury and shooting 41.5% from the floor, which is well off from his career 47.4%. However with Dirk back in the line up the Mavericks’ offensive efficiency has soared from 99.6 to 112.4. Over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the Blazers bare their weaknesses: fatigue, lack of depth, and a penchant for getting into a deep hole early on. But to their credit they’ve outperformed everyone’s expectations and give up few easy wins. Expect a hard fought game every night.
The Blazer’s starting five handle the offense capably with all of them in double digit scoring and over 42% shooting. Everyone one on the bench is shooting 37% or lower, with the exception of rookie big man Meyers Leonard who is hovering around 59% but only averages 3.4 shot attempts per game. The Dallas starters are similarly stacked, but the key difference is again the bench, which is averaging 40.8 points per game. I don’t want to place all the blame for Portland’s struggles onto their bench because the starters are ranked just 5th in defensive efficiency…wait. The production the Blazers starters are managing with the added pressure of their miserable bench baffles me because they really do everything for an average of 35.5 minutes a night. If Terry Stotts’ goal was to emulate Tom Thibodeau consider that checked off.
Portland starters average points per game: 80.4 Portland starters average minutes: 35.5
Dallas starters average points per game: 60.1 Dallas starters average minutes: 28.6
Remember when Chris Kaman was an All-Star? He reminded us.
Blazers Revenge Game for Losing in the 2011 Playoffs
Lillard dunks over Nowitzki prompting “Was war das?”