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Preview: Trail Blazers at Mavericks

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jan 18 2014 01:53:20 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 18 2014 01:53:21 AM CST

The Portland Trail Blazers knocked off one corner of the Texas triangle on Friday and attempt to make it two in a row when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. The Trail Blazers are winners of four straight after a 109-100 triumph at San Antonio and will hit all three Texas teams along with Oklahoma City on their four-game road trip. The Mavericks are averaging 112.2 points while winning four of five and have taken three straight at home.Dallas got a big lift from rookie Shane Larkin in Friday's 110-107 win over the Phoenix Suns and will look to the speedy guard if the Blazers push the pace. "(Larkin) was awesome," Dirk Nowitzki told reporters after the win over the Suns. "We needed everything out of him tonight. I think it was his kind of game, an up-and-down game, and he was phenomenal." Starting point guard Jose Calderon banged a knee in that game and is day-to-day, which could mean Larkin getting a bigger chance to run against Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews in Portland's backcourt.TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, KGW (Portland), FSN Southwest (Dallas)ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (30-9): LaMarcus Aldridge put up his third straight double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds on Friday and combined with Matthews to close out the Spurs in the fourth quarter. The All-Star forward has scored at least 21 points in each of the last six games, opening things up for Lillard, Matthews and Nicolas Batum on the outside. "We have confident shooters," coach Terry Stotts said. "Whomever it is - Damian, Wesley, Mo (Williams), (Aldridge), (Batum) - we have a lot of guys who are very good shooters and feel confident when the ball is in their hands." Matthews went 6-of-7 from beyond the arc in Friday's win.ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (24-17): Dallas managed to grab a 108-106 win at Portland on Dec. 7 on Monta Ellis' game-winning jumper and is heading back up the standings after a stretch of three losses in four games. The Mavericks have turned it around since and are ready to pour more onto Larkin's plate after the rookie stepped up with 18 points and five assists off the bench on Friday. " Devin (Harris)'s not back, Gal (Mekel) had surgery and Jose said he's hurting," Larkin explained to reporters. "So I was like, 'I've just got to go play now. I mean, I'm not coming out, so just go out there and do you.'"BUZZER BEATERS1. Dallas has won three straight - all by six points or fewer - in the series.2. Harris (toe) could make his season debut on Saturday.3. Matthews has hit multiple 3-pointers in 12 of the last 14 games.PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 111, Mavericks 108