W2W4: Trail Blazers could be trouble for Dallas D

DALLAS -- Coach Rick Carlisle refers to the Portland Trail Blazers as the best offensive team the Mavericks have faced this season.

That’s partially because Carlisle has such immense respect for Terry Stotts, who left his post as the Mavs’ offensive coordinator to become Portland’s head coach this summer. But it’s mostly because the Blazers have some bona fide weapons.

LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star power forward who is averaging more than 21 points per game for the third consecutive season. He appears to have a legitimate co-star now in rookie point guard Damian Lillard, who averaged 21.3 points and 9.0 assists in the first three games of his NBA career.

Shooting guard Wesley Matthews, small forward Nicolas Batum and athletic center J.J. Hickson give the Blazers a few nice complementary weapons.

But the Blazers lack offensive threats off the bench. Dallas, even with Dirk Nowitzki out and Rodrigue Beaubois questionable, is a much deeper team.

Records: Mavs (2-1); Trail Blazers (2-1)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: Aldridge, a Seagoville and Texas product, loves playing in front of his hometown crowd. He has averaged 30.3 points in his last four games at the AAC, hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater to cap his last trip here. His ability to play facing the basket or as a post-up threat makes him an especially tough matchup for the Mavs. He can shoot over Elton Brand or muscle Brandan Wright. And Aldridge is an outstanding pick-and-roll player, particularly now that he has a dangerous partner in Lillard.

Key matchup: Darren Collison vs. Damian Lillard -- This matchup should be a ton of fun to watch, featuring a pair of point guards who are off to phenomenal starts in their new homes. Darren Collison has given the Mavs a dynamic penetrating threat, averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 61.1 percent from the floor. Lillard, the sixth overall pick out of Weber State, looks like a young Isiah Thomas.

Injuries: Mavs -- PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is out. G Rodrigue Beaubois (ankle) is questionable. Trail Blazers -- G Elliott Williams (Achilles tendon) is out.

Up next: vs. Toronto Raptors, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday