Doncic and Mavericks leave carbon in the socks of the Trail Blazers

After a streak of three consecutive victories, the Portland Trail Blazers crashed to earth tonight against the dallas mavericks, losing 130-110 in a game that ended shortly after the half. Damian Lillard scored 24 in the loss, edging closer to Clyde Drexler on the Trail Blazers franchise scoring list. Lillard’s buckets were the only nice thing on what turned out to be an ugly night in Texas.

If you missed the game, you can find our quarter by quarter summary here. After that, here are some observations to keep you company.

hatch attack

Luka Doncic spent the first six minutes of the game spreading the ball, trying to get other teammates involved in the game. After that, he was on. The Blazers always have problems with Doncic. He’s too big for Lillard to handle comfortably, but he can step back or get around Portland’s biggest defenders. He got even scarier, somehow, when Kemba Walker came into the game and Luka was able to play off the ball. Portland didn’t know what to make of him at the time. Doncic fried them, again, for 33 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds.

Publication of grants

The Mavericks tried to play the bigger Dorian Finney-Smith over Damian Lillard for stripes of this game. That left smaller defenders in Jerami Grant. Grant responded by posting on or near the lane. It worked for a minute. Grant scored a basket early in the game. He also drew a foul. But the offense slowed in a pattern that would take the Blazers a while to undo. (See below). That was not Grant’s doing in any way. He just set the stage for lopsided basketball, which is not Portland’s forte.

When the Mavs picked up on Portland’s strategy and started taking an interest in Grant, the party was over. He couldn’t make shots or make clean moves. Grant finished with 7 points on just 9 total attempts for the night.

without three defenses

For roughly the 92nd consecutive game, Portland allowed the opponent free shots from the arc out of any action. Dallas went 18-43, 41.9% tonight. Portland got away with it against San Antonio and Minnesota by being better on offense than bad on defense. Dallas wasn’t having it. They can score just as well as the Blazers. And they did. The three of them were a big part of that.

As a complementary point, Dallas shot 55.6% from the field overall.

more angle

Jusuf Nurkic once again thrived in an environment where he was the only legitimate big man. Unlike Grant, Nurk scored on the inside quite naturally, either by way of posting or reversals. He was a strong rebounder and, with a little help, kept the Mavericks out of the lane. Dallas thrived tonight off of midrange jumpers and 3s, not because they were driving or scoring on the inside. (Or at least not when the score mattered.) Nurkic was a big part of that. He finished the game with 16 points on 6-8 shooting in 21 minutes.

iso simons

Anferenee Simons caught the isolation virus shortly after Grant did. She shot 3-10 for 7 points in 24 minutes. Dallas was able to ID it because they pretty much knew it wasn’t happening. Simons is a one-man matchup nightmare, but she’s still not a dominant force in that way. Between Simons and Grant, the passing just didn’t happen.

Scoring in the paint was a side effect of Portland’s matchup-laden offense. The Blazers got 44 in tonight. But they only got 21 assists, few of them when the game was still a game.


A nice side effect of the beating: Portland’s key players were pulled midway through the third quarter. They should be fresher than usual for the fourth game of this extended road trip tomorrow night.

Until next time

score box

The Blazers draw the houston rockets tomorrow afternoon departing at 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

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