The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard's heroics, nearly stealing the game with 32 points and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and 13 rebounds, Nicolas Batum scored 22 points with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, and Robin Lopez added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
First Quarter: Dallas shot 60% in the quarter, and attempted to pull away from the wary Portland quickly, but the Blazers would have none of it. They played... well, let's not mince words: they weren't playing well. But they made key shots, and got a few stops on defense, and late in the quarter, regained the lead. Dallas
Portland 30, Dallas 28
Too bad this game and last nights game couldn't have been ordered the other way around.
Second Quarter: More of the same, as the teams traded the lead but couldn't pull away. Mo Williams was having some trouble keeping the ball inbounds on offense (not surprising since he's a league-leader for turnovers off the bench). Dallas led by 1 as Dirk returned in the second half of the quarter. During the stretch run, the Mavs ran a layup drill, as Jose Calderon floated by the Blazer D for easy buckets. Despite Dallas' 58% shooting, Lillard helped keep the game close before heading to the locker room
Dallas 55, Portland 53
I can't wait for Stotts and his halftime mojo.
Third Quarter: Shawn Marion opened the second half with a three-pointer, and Calderon had another layup to give Dallas their biggest lead so far, 7 points. Dallas continued their hot shooting, and Portland's ball movement struggled, which prevented easy buckets. DeJuan Blair hit consecutive layups to give Dallas a 10 point lead, forcing a Blazer timeout. With two days rest and preparation, Dallas was running their offense to perfection, and disrupting Portland's normal advantages. And a tired Blazer team couldn't make Dallas pay from downtown. After the timeout, Aldridge promptly turned the ball over, with Lillard and Batum combining for a turnover in transition shortly after. At the halfway point, the Blazers nonetheless pushed back, as a Matthews offensive rebound and putback cut the deficit to 5. As Dirk subbed out of the game, Batum swished a three, and Portland somehow pulled to within 2! Dallas quickly called timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Blazers stole the ball, leading to a Batum dunk to complete at 10-0 run to tie the game. Dallas regained the ball, leading to a game of keepaway, as neither team could score anymore. Batum even missed two free throws. But on the next possession, he hit a three-pointer with a difficulty level of 10 to give the Blazers the lead. Dallas answered with a three-pointer of their own, and kept the lead at the end of the third.
At some point of this quarter (not shown on TV), Matthews left for the locker room for unknown reasons.
Dallas 79, Portland 76
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers tried to close the gap, but instead left Dirk Nowitzki open for three. Bad idea. More Blazer turnovers didn't help. They called timeout down 8 again. But just as Dallas looked like they were sealing a win, nearing a double-digit lead, the Blazers used a burst of energy to close within 5. Dallas called timeout to settle things down. Portland tried to stay close, but their three-pointers weren't falling, nor were their layups. But as the clock ticked under 5 minutes, a Lillard three closed the gap to three. After a Dallas turnover, Lillard took another three... and hit it! The game was tied and Dallas needed a timeout with 4 minutes left.
Out of the timeout, Nowitzki settled down and calmly hit a jumper to give Dallas the lead. After a Lillard miss, Dirk jumper, swish. Four point Mavs lead, just like that. Lopez and Batum tied the game in response, with 2:30 left. But Dirk took over again, hitting a jumper while getting fouled to pull Dallas ahead by 3. Batum cut the deficit to 1 with a jumper, but on a broken play, Dallas ended up with a very lucky open three pointer. It swished, and Dallas was comfortably ahead by 4. Lillard's three-pointer rimmed out, and Dallas got two consecutive possessions to run down the clock, ending with yet another Dirk fadeaway for a 6 point lead with 45 seconds left. Batum hit a three-pointer, but Mo Williams missed a good look at a tying three. Portland pressured Ellis into a turnover, giving themselves one last shot at a tie. They handed the ball to Lillard again:
The Blazers had tied the game after being down 6 only 43 seconds earlier! But there were still two seconds left, and the Mavs had one last shot with 2 seconds left. They gave it to Monta Ellis, with a jumper for the win.
Stay tuned for more later tonight from Ben and Dave. The Blazers are right back in action in Utah Monday night, a return engagement against the Jazz. -- Tim
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs