Here we go again. The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the lowly Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to an embarrassing first half. Dallas led 62-38 at halftime, and had a 25-point lead with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter. Portland made an impressive comeback, spearheaded by Damian Lillard, that ultimately came up short.
Lillard had a chance to be the hero with a last-second potential game winner, but the play blew up and he was forced into a heavily contested shot from well behind the 3-point arc, that clanged off the front iron. Dallas won the game 96-95. Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 28 points, and Lillard led the Blazers with a game-high 29.
As it has been for most of the season, the Moda Center is a morgue. No life. No energy. And no reason to be ... Dallas 21, Portland 12.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) December 22, 2016
In a season of bad nights, this one might be the Blazers' worst. Mavericks lead 62-38 at halftime.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 22, 2016
Blazers trim Dallas lead to 88-82 with 6:25. Moda feeling the comeback.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) December 22, 2016
Wesley Matthews is no stranger to Damian Lillard's moves. Straight locked up former teammate on final possession. Not many cats can do that.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 22, 2016
"We didn't play with enough passion, enough heart." -- Terry Stotts, who also noted he doesn't care how they played in the second half.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 22, 2016
Allen Crabbe spoke about the Blazers’ effort after the game:
Dwight Jaynes of CSN NW lamented the fact that Portland seems at a loss as to how to turn this season around:
This is not a team accustomed to having its effort questioned. This isn't a squad that's had a lot of disappointing efforts. These are good people who try hard. They haven't given up.
What's the answer? I couldn't even guess. If the coaches or players knew, they'd be correcting it.
But what I do know is that once things start going south, it's hard to get them turned around. The losses pile on top of each other and begin to weigh heavily on all involved. They can even begin to shape the future as teams grow to expect bad things to happen or forget what they were doing to make good things possible.
The Trail Blazers (13-18) host the San Antonio Spurs (23-5) Friday at the Moda Center. The Spurs are 15-1 on the road this season and have the second best record in the NBA, behind only the Golden State Warriors.