FINAL: Portland Trail Blazers 99, Dallas Mavericks 97 (OT)

Ballgame.

In a wild game, the Dallas Mavericks jumped ahead early, but could not hold off an inspired Portland Trail Blazer team, who stormed right back to force overtime. In a close OT, LaMarcus Aldridge (in front of his family) nailed an elbow step-back fadeaway at the buzzer to send the Blazers home winners!

The Blazers were led by Raymond Felton, with a monster night of 30 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, and (of course) Aldridge with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists. Jamal Crawford also scored in double figures with 14. The young guys were fairly quiet, as JJ Hickson had 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Luke Babbitt and Jonny Flynn played minimal roles in the win.

The first half was as uninteresting to recap as it was to view live. The Blazers took a quick 8-6 lead, then the Mavs stomped on them like an unnoticed ant. Coach Kaleb gave an extra look at Flynn, Babbitt, and Hasheem Thabeet. However, Aldridge returned, and refused to let Dallas pull away, with the lead peaking at 15. At halftime, the Mavs led by 12.

The Blazers made some nice adjustments to start the third, and Dallas simply could not put the ball in the the hoop. Kaleb took a timeout with the Blazers down 8. The Mavs tried to turn it up a notch, but they weren't prepared for Felton, who hit 6 quick points for a 3 point Blazer lead. Overall, it was a 23-3 Blazer run, and they went from 8 points down, to 8 points leading at the end of three. Dallas shot 4-18 in the third.

The Mavs scored the first seven points of the fourth, and Kaleb needed a timeout. However, the bench stayed in, and Dallas promptly regained the lead. From there, things went crazy. The Blazers looked like a playoff team, battling the Mavs down to the wire with strong defense and big shots. Felton continued to be on fire. However, Jason Terry tied it with a three-pointer at the 2 minute mark. Felton hit a layup to regain the lead, but a beautiful Terry pass to Marion tied the game with 15 seconds left. Terry stole the ball with seconds left, and heaved a three pointer which missed. Overtime, baby.

Overtime quickly became the battling All-Stars, as Aldridge and Dirk Nowitzki played some back-and-forth. Felton joined in, giving the Blazers the lead with 2:20 left. After a very controversial out-of-bounds review (I have no idea what the referees saw), the Mavs tied the game with 1:42 left. After LaMarcus missed a fadeaway, Marion missed, and the teams were down to 1 minute left. Felton and Terry missed easy shots in succession. After Felton missed a three, Dirk threw to a wide-open Marion, but threw it out of bounds instead! The Blazers inbounded the ball with 4 seconds left, for the win, and LMA hit a fadeaway at the buzzer! LaMarcus celebrated his game-winning shot with his mom (who always knew he wasn't a second-banana) and his family, the Blazers enjoyed the moment, then they all ran for the locker room and a waiting flight.

Check out the box score, then stay tuned for Dave's recap, which will likely be a little late tonight. The Blazers are right back in action tomorrow night in Milwaukee. -- Tim

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