(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trailblazers
The Dallas Mavericks begin their pursuit of an NBA championship tonight as the third-seeded Mavericks host the sixth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The Mavericks went 57-25 in the regular season, a mark that included an extended absence from star Dirk Nowitzki early on in the year. Despite this, Dallas tied Los Angeles for the second best record in the Western Conference, but lost the tiebreaker by virtue of being a wild card team and not a division winner - which the Lakers were.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks this year in points per game, posting 23 points per game as the Mavericks averaged 100.2 points per game on the season. Tyson Chandler led the team in rebounds and blocks, averaging 9.4 rebounds per game and 1.1 blocks per game. Jason Kidd led the team in assists and steals per game, with 8.2 and 1.7 respectively.
The Mavericks will look to take a commanding lead early in the series. Portland is a poor road team, going 18-23 on the road this season. The Mavericks went 29-12 at home in Dallas.
For a comprehensive series preview, be sure to check out Maurice London's breakdown of the series.
Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. EST, 8:30 p.m. CST. Televised coverage can be found on ESPN.