Two teams that began the week on a tear aim for a return to form on Wednesday as the Dallas Mavericks visit the Portland Trail Blazers.
Dallas was outscored 33-14 in the fourth quarter of a 130-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday in San Francisco, while Portland fell 109-107 to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Both teams entered their latest game playing well, with Dallas having won five of its past six and Portland having prevailed in six of eight.
The Tuesday loss was a costly one for the Mavericks, who saw Tim Hardaway Jr. go down with a broken fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot.
Hardaway, who is averaging 14.2 points and 3.7 rebounds, sustained the non-contact injury in the second quarter after scoring 10 points in 10 minutes.
“We’re going to have to figure out how to play without him for a little while,” Dallas center Kristaps Porzingis said.
The Mavericks will look to regroup against a Portland team that led by 13 in the third quarter against Minnesota before losing when Anfernee Simons missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
The Blazers fell despite another stellar effort from center Jusuf Nurkic, who recorded his sixth straight double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Playing his fifth game since returning from a collapsed right lung, guard CJ McCollum scored 15 points against the Wolves and hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 107 with 10.5 seconds left.
“He’s a guy who can get that bucket when you need it,” Blazers forward Nassir Little said. “He’s so creative and the way he handles the ball, he just commands the defense to pay attention to him.”
Little had 20 points and eight rebounds before exiting the game midway through the fourth quarter with a strained left shoulder. He did not return and is listed as day-to-day.
Portland is already playing without Damian Lillard (core surgery recovery), Larry Nance Jr. (knee) and Cody Zeller, who will miss at least eight weeks after having right knee surgery Tuesday.
One bright spot Tuesday was the return of forward Norman Powell, who had eight points in 26 minutes after missing the previous eight games while working through the league’s health and safety protocol and due to personal reasons.
Dallas has won its last two meetings against Portland by an average of 27.5 points but is coming off an ugly loss to Golden State.
The Mavericks have been the NBA’s best defensive team since Jan. 1, but the Warriors turned in a dominant outing while shooting 53.3 percent from the field.
While Mavericks star Luka Doncic had 25 points in the loss, Porzingis was ejected after kicking the ball into the stands in the fourth quarter. Porzingis was held to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting.
“We weren’t very good from the beginning,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “Luka was Luka at the beginning. We couldn’t get anybody to join him, offensively or defensively. We just couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively. And defensively, we weren’t connected.”
Hardaway’s injury likely will mean additional responsibility for players such as Reggie Bullock, Josh Green and Dorian Finney-Smith, who combined for just 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting Tuesday.
–Field Level Media