The Portland Trail Blazers took a punch in the face Friday, falling behind big in the first half, then somehow closing the gap before ultimately falling short of pulling out the full comeback against the Dallas Mavericks, falling 108-104 at the Moda Center.
The first half was all but disastrous for the Blazers, as the Mavericks got off to a scorching hot start and hardly looked back. Dallas went perfect on its first seven shots and led 30-10 just midway through the first quarter as Portland found themselves quickly falling into a a deep hole.
Coming in shorthanded without three point guards in Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, the Mavs turned to undrafted free agent Yogi Ferrell, playing his fourth game of a 10-day contract, who set the Moda Center on fire. Ferrell might as well have been Stephen Curry, draining six threes in the half on his way to 22 points on 8-11 shooting. It was as impressive as any performance by such a relatively unknown player in recent memory, and one that will likely have Terry Stotts and his staff scratching their heads,
Wesley Matthews wasn’t far behind with 18 points of his own, while Dallas pushed its lead to as much as 24 as the Blazers lost the back-court battle as badly as they have all season.
But despite all its troubles, and surviving an unspectacular half from Damian Lillard, Portland didn’t let things slip away, eventually closing the first and second periods on 12-5 and 19-8 runs, respectively to trail by only 13 points heading into the locker room.
Portland Trail Blazers 47, Dallas Mavericks 60
Things got better during the third quarter, with the Blazers managing to close within five a couple of separate times behind Evan Turner’s 14 points, but just couldn’t manage to get over the hump.
Dallas responded with nine straight to regain a double-digit lead towards the end of the third, but C.J. McCollum nailed a straightaway three just before the buzzer to trail just eight at 84-76 heading into the final frame.
Showing an edge on defense, Portland clawed even further in the fourth and the Mavs’ offense sputtered as the pace slowed to a mostly half-court contest. The Blazers forced two shot clock violations in the period and McCollum drew a timely charge on Matthews to help complete the comeback, which culminated on Al-Farouq Aminu’s three with 4:16 remaining that tied the game at 92.
But that’s as much as Dallas would budge, never conceding the lead and icing the game on a three from who other than Ferrell, to make it 32 points on his career night and give the Mavs a four point lead at 105-101 with 19 seconds left. Portland wouldn’t recover, and Dallas walked away with an upset, I guess.
Blazer’s Edge Night 2017
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-- Ryan Rosback | email@example.com | Twitter