The Dallas Mavericks have had their share of playoff failures in the past. However, now they hold a 2-0 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, and even while posted as the dogs tonight, they should extend their lead to 3.

This is the first time since the 2006 NBA Finals that Dallas has led an NBA playoff series two games to none. Keep in mind however, that the Dallas Mavericks eventually lost that series in six games, and has won only 1-of-5 playoff series since then.

Jason Kidd & the Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki

Jason Kidd has found the fountain of youth through the first two games of this series. Kidd is averaging 21.0 PPG (averaged a career-low 7.9 PPG during regular season), while connecting on 64 percent of his shots from the field (shot 36.1 percent during regular season) and an amazing 56.3 percent from behind the arc.

As a team, Dallas has made 47.4 percent of its three-point attempts in this series, after shooting just 36.5 percent for the regular season. Dirk Nowitzki has really taken over in the fourth quarter, averaging 16.0 PPG in the final quarter while getting to the foul line 21 total times (making 19).

Portland counts on home court advantage

The Portland Trail Blazers are glad to be home where they have played very well this season, going 30-11, including 10 wins in their past 11 regular-season games. They are 6-1 against the Mavericks at home in their playoff history.

LaMarcus Aldridge has come to play for Portland (25.5 PPG in series), as has Andre Miller (18.0 PPG, 7.0 APG in series), but overall the Blazers have not shot well from behind the arc, making just 9-of-30 shots. While Marcus Camby has not scored many points (averaging 4.5 PPG), he has rebounded very well, pulling down 13.0 RPG in the first two games.

Series outcome

While many still think Portland has a chance to still win this series, it needs to get much better production out of its bench, which has been outscored 61-32 through the first two games of the series. NBA odds makers are not convinced that Dallas is for real, and have listed them as 5.5 point dogs, despite their 2 victories. The Mavericks still have a lot to prove and I like them to come out Thursday and show that their first two games were not flukes.

SBR's ScottK has predicted for the Trail Blazers to clinch the game, but I am not buying it. I’m taking underdog Dallas plus the points. Past NBA betting trends provide two more reasons to side with the Mavs:

Play On - Underdogs (DALLAS) - after beating the spread by 36 or more points total in their last five games against opponent after being beaten by the spread by 18 or more points total in their last three games. (73-33 over the last 5 seasons.) (68.9%, +36.7 units. Rating = 3*).

Play Against - Favorites (PORTLAND) - after scoring 90 points or less 3 straight games. (85-43 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.4%, +37.7 units. Rating = 2*).

My Pick: Dallas Mavericks plus the points