It’ll be a championship reunion week of sorts, with each of the four scheduled foes featuring at least one contributor to the Mavericks’ title.
A look at the opponents:
Portland Trail Blazers (7:30 p.m. Monday, American Airlines Center): Former Mavs assistant Terry Stotts is off to a nice start as the head coach of the 2-1 Trail Blazers. That’s due in large part to lottery-pick point guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 21.3 points and 9.0 assists per game. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson and John Wall are the only other players in NBA history to average at least 20 points and nine assists through their first three games in the league, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Lillard’s arrival gives All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge a legitimate sidekick. Aldridge, the Seagoville and Texas product who hit a game-winning buzzer-beater at the AAC last season, is coming off a 27-point, 11-rebound, six-assist, two-block performance in an OT win over the Rockets.
Toronto Raptors (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, American Airlines Center): Ex-Mavs assistant Dwane Casey is entering the second year of a major rebuilding project with the Raptors (1-2). Toronto acquired a foundation piece by trading for former Houston point guard Kyle Lowry, who averaged 23.7 points, 7.0 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 steals in his first two games for the Raptors. Finesse big man Andrea Bargnani hasn’t shot the ball well so far this season, but his perimeter shooting could make him a tough matchup for the Mavs. He had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting in Dallas last season.
New York Knicks (6:30 p.m. Friday, Madison Square Garden): The brains and backbone of the Mavs’ championship starting five now play for the Knicks. Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler have helped the Knicks get off to a 2-0 start, but Carmelo Anthony is carrying New York. Anthony is lighting it up with Amare Stoudemire sidelined by knee problems, averaging 28.5 points per game. With Shawn Marion and Dahntay Jones, the Mavs have a pair of outstanding defensive small forwards to spearhead the effort to slow Melo down.
Charlotte Bobcats (6:30 p.m. Saturday, Time Warner Cable Arena): If you’ve got to play a back-to-back, it’s nice to face Brendan Haywood’s Bobcats on the butt end. The Mavs are 16-0 all-time against Charlotte after Saturday’s rout.