Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was the talk of the game, but Mason Plumlee played exceptionally well for the Portland Trail Blazers when the two NBA teams faced one another on Sunday.
The 6’11”, 240 pound center chipped in with 14 points and an astounding 19 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to help his team get the victory. According to ESPN, the Trail Blazers lost to the Mavericks in an exciting game by a score of 120 to 132 in overtime.
The extra overtime period enabled Mason Plumlee to get 32 minutes of playing time. Many in the NBA believe that the former Duke Blue Devils star can put up way more impressive numbers if he could earn more playing time from Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stott. When the season began, Plumlee was averaging 29 minutes a game, but he’s seen those numbers drop to around 25 minutes, which affected his stats. With about 35 minutes a game, he might be an All Star.
Mason Plumlee needs more performances like the one against the Dallas Mavericks if he wants to convince Terry Stott that he can be trusted to play heavy minutes. The need is further highlighted because the Portland Trail Blazers cannot trust starting power forward Noah Vonleh to make the right decisions on the court. In March, the 20 year old has been averaging less than 15 minutes a game. Vonleh was the only starter to not score a single point.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have developed into one of the best back courts in the NBA since LaMarcus Aldridge left in free agency to join the San Antonio Spurs. They proved it again on Sunday by carrying the Portland Trail Blazers. The dynamic guards combined for 48 points, 16 assists, and three steals. The nine turnovers hurt their efforts to beat the Dallas Mavericks. Portland could have used those potential points.
The Portland Trail Blazers received some much needed help from the supporting cast. Though he didn’t shoot well, starting small forward Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in 12 points, five assists and five rebounds. Backup shooting guard Allen Crabbe exploded off the bench for 24 points, which is more than twice his season scoring average. Crabbe was able to spread the floor against the Dallas Mavericks because he hit six shots from beyond the three point line.
Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki led the Dallas Mavericks to a victory. Nowitzki defied age once again with 40 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Williams looked like an NBA All Star guard again with 31 points, 16 rebounds and three steals. If Williams can play like that more frequently, then it would definitely help the Mavericks hold on to that final Western Conference spot in the NBA Playoffs. Williams decided to step up because Chandler Parsons was injured.
The Dallas Mavericks received a boost from the bench. Seldom used backup center Salah Mejri was given some minutes, and he rewarded Rick Carlisle with 13 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks. Those numbers would make him one of the better NBA centers, so that’s something that the Mavericks will keep an eye on. Backup center David Lee didn’t provide as much scoring off the bench as normal, but his eight rebounds were quite useful to Dallas.
Every game is even more important nowadays for the Portland Trail Blazers. They’re sitting on the sixth spot in the Western Conference, but they have the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz breathing down their necks. The Trail Blazers have games against the Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics on the schedule this week. That’s a pretty rough stretch and could see Portland moving out of the top eight spot.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]