The Mavs are in a position they likely wish they would have been in last season. No, not squeezing by and making the playoffs, but clinching with only a few games left, thus keeping them on their toes and forcing them to head into the playoffs speeding up instead of slowing down. For that situation, the Blazers are an ideal opponent for the Mavs tonight. Portland provides good competition and bring challenges for the Mavs, but they aren't going to make the playoffs and aren't good enough for the game to seem too important for the Mavs. The matchup can allow the Mavs to practice some more things against a worthy, albeit flawed opponent. The Mavs have taken two of their three meetings this season.
For more on Brandon Roy's return, LaMarcus Aldridge's emergence and Joel Przybilla's broken hand after the jump: