The Blazers spread the scoring around tonight, but were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (30 points, 12 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (21 points, 7 rebounds), Robin Lopez (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (14 points, 10 assists). They were not led by the bench, who had a truly epic fourth quarter collapse to make the game look closer than it was.
First Half: What a half. The Blazers clearly circled this game on the calendar, after losing to Dallas at the buzzer last month. They came out aggressive, and immediately took the Mavs out of their game. At the other end, Dallas didn't seem ready to play as much defense as required, and the Blazers were rewarded with multiple three-point-play opportunities. As the Blazers pushed the lead past 15, Dallas pushed back, cutting it to 8. But they couldn't maintain the pressure, and behind huge halves by Aldridge and Batum, the Blazers took care of business and maintained a big lead in front of a stunned Dallas crowd. Portland dominated the rebounding and (shocking!) the points in the paint, and Dallas tried to form a new strategy at halftime.
Portland 71, Dallas 52
Our transition game has been awesome so far. KEEP IT UP.
Third Quarter: More of the same to start, as Dallas struggled to manufacture points against Portland's zone defense, and the Blazers took advantage to extend the lead out to 28 at the halfway point. A frustrated Dirk Nowitzki was called for a technical foul. In response, the Blazers ratcheted up the defense further, leading to a monster Nic-to-Robin alley-oop dunk on the break for a 31 point lead. After yet another defensive stop, Lopez scored with a foul. 34 point lead. Finally, Dallas picked up their energy... and Portland responded with a steal and a couple layups. Dallas took their fourth timeout in the quarter. Out of the timeout, Freeland made it a 36 point lead. Stotts pulled Aldridge from the game, and hopefully for the night.
Portland 104, Dallas 70
Blazers are favored, statistically, when leading by 34 points after three quarters!
Fourth Quarter: Unexpectedly, both teams emptied their benches to start the fourth quarter. And Will Barton pushed the lead to 38 with a three-pointer. Then the Blazer bench completely tanked, missing all their shots early in the shot-clock, while giving up open jumpers to the Mavs. The 38 point lead was quickly 25 and Stotts called his second quick timeout. Dallas made it 15 straight points, and the lead was 23. Then another turnover, and the lead was 21 with 6 minutes left. Then 17 with 5 minutes left, as the remaining fans held hope, and Stotts took yet another timeout. Then 15, and a clearly-frustrated Stotts brought back his starters. They took care of business, and the game was quickly over, with only 43.8 additional seconds of bench ugliness.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wasn't thrilled about his teams' performance, according to Mavs Outsider:
Rick Carlisle: "The first three quarters were beyond embarrassing."— Bryan Gutierrez (@BallinWithBryan) January 19, 2014
A well deserved day of rest, and a date with the Houston Rockets Monday night on TNT. In the meantime, stay tuned for some game analysis from Dave.
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