LaMarcus Aldridge's hard work wasn't rewarded this season with an invitation to the All-Star game, but I'm guessing that if had a choice, he'd take a playoff series in his hometown over a few February days in LA.
And that's exactly what is going to happen. The end result of the Mavericks securing the third seed by beating the Hornets and the Lakers locking up the second seed by beating the Kings is that now the Trail Blazers will head to Dallas to take on the Mavericks in the first round. Game 1 will either be on Saturday or Sunday. We'll know which day we'll play sometime later tonight.
Here is the schedule for the first round. All times are Pacific.
Game 1 - Sat April 16 Portland at Dallas 6:30PM ESPN
Game 2 - Tue April 19 Portland at Dallas 6:30PM TNT
Game 3 - Thu April 21 Dallas at Portland 7:30PM TNT
Game 4 - Sat April 23 Dallas at Portland 2:00PM TNT
Game 5 * Mon April 25 Portland at Dallas TBD TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 28 Dallas at Portland TBD TBD
Game 7 * Sat April 30 Portland at Dallas TBD TBD
For once, we end up with the matchup that most seem to think gives the Trail Blazers the best chance to advance to the second round for the first time 2000. I don't know about all of that; I just know I'm glad we're not playing the two-time defending champs or spending the next week in Oklahoma.
The Trail Blazers and Mavericks have met three times in the playoffs, with all of those series occurring in the first round. Portland won two of those three series and they own a 9-5 record all-time against the Mavericks in the playoffs, but there's not a lot you can take away from any of that. The Mavs eliminated the Blazers in their last playoff meeting in 2003, but again, that might as well be ancient history.
The season series this year ended tied at 2-2, with the Mavericks winning the first two games back in December and January. The Trail Blazers won the last two contests and one could make a strong argument that those last two contests were far more important, as those games occurred after Gerald Wallace was acquired from Charlotte.
The Trail Blazers will return home from Oakland, probably get in one or two practices, then head to Dallas for Game 1 on either Saturday or Sunday. If you've got thoughts on the matchup, lets hear 'em.