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Portland comeback bid falls short against Dallas

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers overcame a 24-point third-quarter deficit to the Dallas Mavericks, Friday, in front of 20,304 at the Rose Garden, but ultimately their late charge came up just short, falling 97-94.

    "Down 24 points to the defending champs – I’m extremely proud and extremely pleased at the game-winning effort our guys showed out there," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "They’re the defending champs for a reason, but I’m extremely pleased with the game winning effort we had, especially down the stretch."

    Dallas (34-26) scored the first nine points of the game, as Portland missed its first four field goal attempts on the way to 25 percent shooting for the quarter, which left the Trail Blazers down 30-16.

    The Trail Blazers brought that up to 38.6 percent via a 55 percent second quarter, yet trail 56-41 at the break. The Mavericks extended their advantage to 24 points in the third quarter and would head to the final stanza up 81-61.

    Dallas led by 16 points with 4:11 left to play, 93-77, when Portland finally put together its run, scoring 12 unanswered points capped by JJ Hickson's layup and foul shot to pull within four points, 93-89, with 1:18 to play.

    The Mavericks pushed the lead back to six points twice in the final minute before Wesley Matthews buzzer-beater three-pointer cemented the final margin.

    "It definitely was a game winning effort. We were down 20 to start the fourth quarter and we cut it down to 3 or 4 points. That’s nothing but game winning effort," Hickson said. "It all started on the defensive end. That’s something I love about coach, he always takes the positive things from games, whether we win or lose and moves forward. But at the same time, he teaches us a lesson about the things we didn’t do well. I know we’ll get in practice tomorrow and harp on the things we didn’t do right and continue to move forward."

    Portland (28-32) remains alive in the playoff hunt despite the loss, by virtue of Denver's 103-97 loss to Los Angeles.

    Nicolas Batum was the only Trail Blazers player to shoot 50 percent or better, going 7-of-12 from the field for a team-high 20 points while pulling down eight rebounds.

    Jamal Crawford added 18 points off the bench as five Trail Blazers scored in double figures, including Hickson's 13 point, 10 rebound double-double, his third-consecutive and fourth overall such performance for the Trail Blazers.

    Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 24 points, followed by David West with 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Shawn Marion tallied the Mavs lone double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

    Portland opens up a road back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings, Sunday, 3 p.m. before heading to Phoenix for a 7 p.m. tip on Monday. Both games can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play calls.

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