Grilled Blazers by Luka Doncic, Mavericks

The Portland Trail Blazers left their defensive game plan and most of their self-esteem spilled onto the floor on Wednesday night in a tough loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic scored 41 points and Kyrie Irving scored 29 to lead the Mavericks to defeat visiting Portland. Dallas scored 78 points in the first half and won 126-97.

If you missed the event and have a high pain tolerance, you can read our quarter-by-quarter recap here. Then, there are other factors that played into the outcome.

Speed ​​and fitness

From the beginning of the competition. The Mavericks seemed intent on bullying the visiting Blazers. They played with a physicality that the Blazers couldn't match. He debuted tough battles for rebounds but eventually turned into a showcase for the Mavericks in the paint. All night long Dallas absorbed contact, bounced off the Blazers, and continued to score at the rim. Portland had no such luck, collapsing and throwing repeat attempts every time their bodies collided with an opponent.

Which made matters worse. The larger, more powerful Mavericks also outplayed Portland. The Blazers have been overwhelmed by their older guards and forwards on the court on multiple occasions, making one wonder and wonder what the benefit of youth and athleticism is.

Dallas finished with a 52-36 lead in the paint and 28-14 at the break. No matter how well the Blazers shot (and they didn't shoot well), they couldn't overcome this. If that effort hadn't got coach Chauncey Billups singing the DMX rap classic in the locker room, nothing would have.

Solve Lukitch's cube

In Portland's first two games against the Mavericks, they seemed committed to getting the ball out of Luka Doncic's hands. It didn't quite work out, as Luka's 40-point hat-trick in the last meeting attested.

Tonight they relaxed their tactics, opting to let Toumani Kamara try to confront Doncic head-on, shadow a nearby defender to help in case Doncic drives, and run screens to keep his hands in the pocket.

This approach was not more effective than the other. Doncic scored 30 of his 41 in the first half alone. But another cost was Kyrie Irving's production. The “other” Dallas goalie had to feed on Portland’s defenders. He started with easy threes, then turned them into a bunch of putts. Irving finished shooting 10-19 and 4-8 from long range.

Simmons crime or bust

All evening, the only scorer the Mavericks respected was Anfernee Simmons. For some reason too…he started hot, snapping the Blazers out of a drought early in the game with a killer shot. But the Mavericks gave Simmons the same treatment the Blazers gave Luka before, constantly doubling him. Not only did his recordings dry up, so did Portland's. Once Simmons was out of the hoop, the Blazers stumbled with extremely difficult attempts from him, as well as shots from the top by Scott Henderson and Shedon Sharpe. It didn't work.

Simmons' respect for attention. Woe to Portland because they couldn't break down the defense themselves and no one else came close to taking the lead.

Simmons ended up leading Portland's starting lineup with 15 points on 5-16 shooting. He shot 1-7 from beyond the arc and Sharpe scored 16 points on a much more efficient 6-12, but he only hit 1-5 from long range himself. Henderson shot 2-11 and scored 7.

Center issues

The Blazers tried to make do with the center tandem of Ibou Badji and Duop Reath tonight. They each had isolated moments of relief, but overall it was a disaster. They've had trouble maintaining containment in the paint, let alone helping out on the perimeter. They were knocked out by a big Dallas team. Every time Portland's centers were within six feet of a driver, they fouled them. It wasn't a pretty sight.

And that was before Reith was thrown with 1:30 remaining in the second period for Flagrant 2 off a seemingly unintentional elbow swing on a spin that connected with Josh Green's nose.

The two centers finished with 2 points and 6 rebounds combined tonight in 21 total minutes of play.

Jabari Walker started the second half desperate to make something work. He finished the game with 4 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes before leaving the game due to a knee injury.


The first half of this match was marred by endless sirens. Some of them came from Portland where they were out of position, but I honestly didn't understand some of them. Any breath whispering the eyelashes of a young child near a Mavericks player is considered a foul. It ended up continuing the Dallas offense and tearing up the remnants of Portland's claim to defense.

Dallas ended up shooting 41 free throws in the game. 25 of them came in the first two quarters.

the next

The result is square

For better or worse, the Blazers will face the Mavericks again on Friday night, again at 5:30 PM PT.

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