The Portland Trail Blazers arrived ill-prepared for the last-place Dallas Mavericks, and spent the second half scratching and clawing to save themselves from an embarrassing loss. But former Blazers star Wesley Matthews shut down Damian Lillard on the final play of the game, leaving the Blazers with one of their worst defeats of the season.
Vintage Wesley Matthews on-ball defense handcuffs Damian Lillard on final possession pic.twitter.com/qkH1vvwldC— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 22, 2016
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (29 points, 4 assists), Allen Crabbe (14 points on 4-6 from three), CJ McCollum (13 points), Mason Plumlee (10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Shabazz Napier (10 points).
The Blazers laid an egg to open the game, falling quickly behind the Mavs, and looking a step slow at both ends. Harrison Barnes and Deron Williams torched the Blazers, and muted boos rang out in the Moda Center as their team fell behind by over 20 points to one of the worst teams in the NBA.
All looked lost until late in the third quarter, when Lillard took over as the Mavs went cold. The Blazers went on a 16-2 run to finally pull within 10 points, and they cut the deficit to 6 early in the fourth quarter. However, as Moe Harkless fouled out, the Blazers struggled to complete the comeback. Despite copious missed shots from the Mavs, Portland still trailed by 8 with just over four minutes left. Thanks to key shots from the returning Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee, the Blazers found themselves with the ball, down one with 20 seconds left. They turned the ball over, and the Mavs returned the favor. Then Matthews shut down Lillard, and the Blazers were again looking for answers.
Bonus Wesley Matthews Blazer Highlights
The Blazers finally get a few nights of sleep in their own beds. But on Friday, they wake up to a date with LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs. Stay tuned tonight, as Dan Marang will have more from this game.