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Preview: Trail Blazers Defend Rose Garden In Game 3

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.5

    The Portland Trial Blazers have a lot of ground to make up to even up the Dallas Mavericks’ 2-0 series lead in the first round.

    Thankfully for the Trail Blazers, Game 3 and 4 will be played at the Rose Garden, where the Mavs have not beaten Portland all season. 

    The Trail Blazers, who hold a 30-11 record in the Rose City, will try to defend their home court on Thursday, when action tips off at 7:30 PM. 

    Portland, which tied the regular season 2-2 with Dallas with both of its wins coming at home, will try to fight back in front of a home crowd down two games in the first-round series.

    Portland wanted to split at least one game in Dallas to swing home-court advantage in its favor coming home, but was sidetracked in both matchups, including Tuesday’s 101-89 loss.

    The Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 33 points and seven rebounds as the Mavs grabbed its first two-game lead since facing the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals. 

    After watching Nowitzki and Jason Kidd combine for 52 points in Game 1, Portland may have had its attention on stopping them, which left the door open for Peja Stojakovic, who hit five 3-pointers on his way to 21 points to help Dallas’ bench outscore Portland’s reserves 39-11.

    Four of the Trail Blazers’ starters scored in double-digits, including LaMarcus Aldridge, who had a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. 

    Andre Miller and Gerald Wallace each recorded 18 points and Wesley Matthews, who suffered a forehead contusion after ramming heads with Dallas’ Jason Terry in the first quarter, had 13.

    Despite both teams matching 22 points in bench production in Game 1, Dallas holds a 61-33 margin in points off the bench. Nicolas Batum scored 10 of the Trail Blazers’ 11 reserve points on Tuesday.

    Kidd added 18 points, including three 3-pointers, while Terry chipped in with 10 off the bench for the Mavs. Kidd has shot 16-of-25 from the field in two games.

    Portland doubled its trips to the free-throw line in Game 2, taking 27 attempts compared to 13 in Game 1. However, the Trail Blazers, who were the third best free throw shooting team in the league with 80 percent during the season, made just 18-of-27 on Tuesday for a 67-percent mark in the postseason.

    But it’s the Mavs’ three-point game that had disrupted the Trail Blazers’ defense.

    Dallas is shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc in the postseason thanks to Kidd and Stojakovic, who have made nine and seven respectively in two meetings. In the regular season, the Mavs only shot 36 percent from deep.

    The Trail Blazers are still trying to figure out how to get their long distance shooting clicking after going 2-of-16 in Game 1.  They managed to hit 7-of-14 on Tuesday with two from Batum and an unusual pair from Miller. 

    Even Trail Blazers’ center Marcus Camby drilled a corner three to beat the one-second shot clock to trail Dallas 78-76 with 9:40 in the fourth. It was Camby’s first three all season and his 19th career shot from beyond the arc.

    However, Portland well-known sharp shooters from three-range–Batum, Matthews and Rudy Fernandez–have only combined for 5-of-17.

    The Trail Blazers will be without Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are both nursing knee-related injuries. 

    Watch Game 3 on TNT and KGW NewsChannel 8 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and listen to the live play-by-play from Brain Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game. 

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