DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks dispatched All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday to open a three-game homestand.
Aldridge poured in 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Dallas. Yet it wasn't enough as the Mavs survived the Blazers 97-94 in double overtime.
Now they must contend with All-Star forward Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Mavs tonight host Griffin and the Clippers, who also sport All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Getting a victory will be no small chore for the Mavs, who turned the ball over 23 times against Portland.
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"It's murderer's row of the power position," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our fans are going to see the three best power forwards in the West in these two games -- Dirk (Nowitzki) and Griffin and Aldridge.
"And Chris Paul, he's another story. He's a monster, too."
Griffin is 10th in the NBA in scoring (21.2) and field-goal percentage (53.2), and sixth in rebounding (11.0). He also has put together some of the most menacing dunks in league history.
"Blake is a different beast, but I think we match up well with him," guard Jason Terry said. "Brendan [Haywood] does an excellent job with playing with him. And in that last game Dirk did a decent job with containing him and making him play from the perimeter.''
After tonight's game against the Clippers, the Mavs host Denver on Wednesday, play at Philadelphia on Friday, at New York on Sunday, then have home games against Boston on Feb. 20 and the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 22 before stopping for the Feb. 26 All-Star Game in Orlando.
"Every one of these games -- there's about 10 or 12 of them that lead up to the All-Star break -- all these games are against high-caliber teams, playoff teams or teams that we've had a lot of trouble with like Minnesota," Carlisle said. "There's not a single game on this schedule before the break that you can say there's any breathing room at all.
"They're all monster games."
Other All-Stars the Mavs will face before the All-Star break include Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, New York's Carmelo Anthony, Boston's Paul Pierce, and Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers.
Rest an option?
With the games -- and sometimes the injuries -- coming so fast, are the Mavs seriously considering resting players to protect them from getting injured?
"Certainly we would consider it," Rick Carlisle said. "But there's nothing on the schedule right now where I'm looking and saying, 'Hey, a guy's going to sit this game or that game' -- unless we've got some kind of an illness or a health issue or a physical issue.
"We've worked hard to get back to full strength and we want to maintain that. But I think it's pretty clear based on what we've done, we would consider anything if it was in the best interest of the team."
The Clippers stunned the Mavs, 91-89, on Jan. 18, on a three-point basket by Chauncey Billups with one second remaining in the game. But Billups is out for the rest of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon during a Feb. 6 game against Orlando.
Guard Rodrigue Beaubois is healthy but hasn't played in either of the past two games because of a coach's decision.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760