Mavericks, Blazers set for battle in Big D
(Sports Network) - A pair of 2-1 squads do battle Monday night when the Dallas Mavericks play host to the somewhat surprising Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks last played Saturday when they clobbered the Charlotte Bobcats at home, 126-99. That result should surprise no one. The Mavericks have never lost to the Bobcats in 16 matchups, and Charlotte has never scored 100 points against Dallas.
The Mavs flew past 100 points, thanks to a big night from new shooting guard, O.J. Mayo. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, the former member of the Memphis Grizzlies went off for 30 points on 7-for-10 3-point shooting on Saturday.
"We're professionals, so we're trying to put it together rather fast and make sure we have some success here, knowing that Dirk's out and we've been having a couple of injuries," said Mayo, whose seven 3-pointers were a career-high. "We're just trying to go out there and take care of business. We wanted to come out with an attack mentality and really just get after it."
They did that in a well-balanced effort. New point guard Darren Collison had 18 points and 10 assists and three players came off the bench for double- figures.
One of them was center Chris Kaman. He missed the first two games of the season with a strained right calf and didn't start Saturday night. Head coach Rick Carlisle opted to retain his lineup from the first two games, but Kaman checked in two minutes into the contest and put up 16 points.
The Trail Blazers have enjoyed a surprising 2-1 start to its season with wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. Their only loss came against the reigning Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Thunder's home-opener.
The Blazers victory on Saturday was an especially pleasing one. They bested the Houston Rockets 95-85 in overtime in the home debut of James Harden and Jeremy Lin.
After he went off for 37 and 45 in his first two games as Rocket, the Blazers limited Harden to 24 points on 8-for-24 shooting. It was Wesley Matthews' job to defend the Beard and did an admirable job.
"Wes is a warrior. He took a challenge on James Harden and was physical and tenacious. He's as good a competitor as I've been around," said head coach Terry Stotts.
LaMarcs Aldridge is an elite player in this league, but rookie point guard Damian Lillard has been the straw stirring the drink in Portland. He's averaged 21.3 PPG and nine assists.
The Mavericks took two of three from the Blazers last season, but Portland won in overtime in Dallas late in the season.