National Basketball Association
Dallas at Portland
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 20, 2018
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
A return home is turning things around for the Portland Trail Blazers, who pulled off wins in the first two of their three-game homestand after dropping three in a row on the road. The Trail Blazers will try to make it a clean sweep of the homestand when they host the slumping Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
Portland, which begins a stretch with six of eight on the road -- including a trip to Dallas -- on Monday, watched a 20-point lead evaporate before holding on for a 118-111 triumph over Phoenix on Tuesday and had a better showing late on Thursday, holding the Indiana Pacers to 12 points in the fourth quarter to earn a 100-86 victory. "We just made plays when we needed to in the fourth quarter," Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told reporters. "In the fourth quarter, it was good to see just the lead kind of expand without having very many mistakes. You win the game shooting 39 percent. You win it holding the other team to 12 points (in the fourth). It was good." The Mavericks outscored the Denver Nuggets 33-19 in the fourth quarter on Tuesday but could not completely clear a deficit that was as large as 23 points and ended up falling 105-102. "We've got to be precise in so many areas to be successful, especially on the road," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "There are some things to build on here. ... A lot of little things add up, and then a big deficit is a big thing."
10 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Dallas), NBCS Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (15-30):
Dallas dropped two straight and five of its last seven games but is still getting big performances from rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who led the way with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting and five assists on Tuesday. That marked the third time in the last four games that the NC State product scored 20 or more points, raising his season scoring average to 14.5. Fellow young point guard Yogi Ferrell (24) is enjoying a hot stretch as well while averaging 15.3 points on 53.5 percent shooting over the last four contests.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (24-21):
Portland will challenge Smith and Ferrell with star guard tandem Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but Portland is at its best when center Jusuf Nurkic is producing. Nurkic delivered 19 points and 17 rebounds in Thursday's win and averages 15.2 points and 8.7 boards in wins while posting 13.7 and 7.3 in losses. "He was huge. That type of effort is what we need from him," Lillard told the team's website of Nurkic. "When he got in the paint, he was finishing early. He played strong. He was just really locked in. Even on the defensive end, he was contesting shots at the rim. It seemed like every ball that came off the rim, he rebounded it and it wasn't rebounds that he was waiting to come to him, he was going up above the rim to get them. Those are the kind of games we're going to need from him. When he plays that way on both ends, we're a much better team."BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Trail Blazers' current five-game home winning streak is their longest of the season.
2. Mavericks PG J.J. Barea (groin) sat out Tuesday and is questionable for Saturday.
3. The road team won each of the four meetings last season, with Dallas winning two by a total of five points in Portland.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 105, Mavericks 102
Stats and Records