The Portland Trail Blazers dropped a close one to the Dallas Mavericks in overtime, finishing 120-132 after a rough extra period. They complete their road trip 1-3 and now return to Portland, where they will play eight of their last 11 to end the regular season. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room.
It’s tough. We put ourselves in a good position to win, you know, we took it into overtime and made some plays down at the end, and it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t pull it out in the end. Dirk [Nowitzki] had a great game and Deron Williams had a great game too, so when you get two big nights from key players, it’s kind of tough. They make the plays. We got them again on Wednesday, so we just got to put this one behind us and get the next one.
What is the struggle in guarding Dirk? What makes him so tough?
He has a lot of stuff to his game. Whether it’s smaller guys or guys his size—smaller guys, he just shoots over you with that rainbow shot; then the post, you could see pump fake, go around, up and under—he just has a lot of stuff to his game. Eighteen years in the league, you know how to score, and that’s what he’s been doing. He just got it going early in the game and kept it going.
Is there any feeling of an opportunity lost? You don’t get many opportunities to put away a team, and that’s twice now.
Like I said, man, just got to move on and learn from it. I mean, not learn from it, at this point you can’t really talk about the process anymore. It’s just one of those games that we let slip. That’s all we can say really at this point. We been in situations like this before and we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to make tonight.
Personally, you had a career-high six threes. Did it just feel like one of those nights that your shot felt good?
Yeah. I saw my first two go in, so that gave me a little bit of confidence and just kept shooting. Got a lot of confidence from my teammates, from the coaching staff, and regardless of me missing shots, every time I come back to the bench the first thing they tell me is ‘Keep shooting the ball. Don’t stop. Don’t hesitate. Just shoot it.’ And that’s what they need me to do. So, like I said, knocked down my first two and felt good, so just had a good night.
Compare how you feel about this team’s playoff chances coming home to Portland than when you left.
Our chances to make the playoffs?
I feel the same. We played good teams. We shouldn’t feel bad about anything. OKC is a top-3 team, San Antonio just beat the best team pretty good last night, and Dallas is a good team. They got vets; they know how to play. They haven’t played their greatest hear, and at some point you got to turn it around. Tonight they shot the ball really well, so we shouldn’t feel bad about it. It would have been great to at least split the trip, but I think we going home feeling fine. Now we got, what, eight out of our next 11 at home? So his was the tough part. Now we got to go home and handle our business.
We put all our guys on the baseline just to flatten them out; take [indiscernible] away, and he just stayed on one side of me. He just decided that we was going to play on one side of the court, so I gave him a move, got him to back up off me, I stepped away from him, I shot a shot that I’m really comfortable shooting, and it just didn’t go in. I was really comfortable with that shot. Kind of disappointed that I couldn’t end the game right there, you know, going to overtime on the road against a pretty good team is tough. It’s just unfortunate.
Déjà vu from the last time you played these guys, right?
Seemed like the last three times we done had a chance to beat them at the buzzer and I missed all three, but I thought our team did a great job of fighting our way back into the game. They shot the ball really well. We had a lot of contested shots that they knocked down. We just got to be ready for the next one. They got to come see us again, and the game is just as big this next time.
You started out shooting so well. Did they make an adjustment that got you in a rut?
They stuck with the same thing pretty much the whole game. The ball just wasn’t going in. I was getting to some of the same spots I usually get to; I just didn’t make shots. That’s what it comes down to: they made shots, we didn’t. When it was time to get back into the game and find a way, we did. We just couldn’t close it.
It felt like we could have played some better defense. That’s kind of been the case with us more recently. They had two guys that had exceptional games, but then also there were some stretches in the first half where we just didn’t get shots. We had good attempts—myself in particular—had a few corner threes that—I’m a very confident shooter—just didn’t go down, but that’s the way it goes.
Personally, how’s your calf feeling?
It’s fine. I’ve dealt with it last couple games. I tweaked it a little bit in this game, but it won’t be an issue going forward. It’ll heal up. I’ll be ready for the next game.
These games are so important, not only because they’re at the end of the season, but this is a team that you guys are fighting for… Just emotionally, these tough games got to sting. Where are you guys emotionally after this?
It hurts. It’s obviously an important game for us, and then going into overtime felt like we still could have won the game, but you got to transition quickly. We play them again on Wednesday at our place, so you just got to forget about it, learn something from this game, and go in and try to win the next one. That’s it.
We lost a tough game. I thought we competed and, besides overtime, we had some good looks—we didn’t make them. They hit shots after a couple possessions, a bunch of threes, I think they shot a really good percentage from three tonight, and we ended up losing. They did what they were supposed to do on their home court. I would have liked to win the game, but we’ll see them in a couple days.
Are you looking forward to a quick turnaround after a game like this?
Yeah. I think it will be good to go back, get some rest, and play in front of our home crowd. We haven’t had a lot of home games out of the last 15-16, so it’ll be nice to be able to stay at home and play some home games for a change.
What’s going to kind of stick out about this one to you?
We had the looks we wanted. Dame got a shot at the end of regulation. He didn’t make it. It happens, but I thought we played well; especially in those first four quarters. I thought we played well enough to win, and it just didn’t happen. Overtime, they played better; they used momentum; they hit shots. Their players stepped up and did what they were supposed to do. We didn’t execute; we didn’t make shots, and that’s what happens sometimes.