Mar 15

Blazers Down Red-Hot Mavs

By mikebarrett
The best road team in the NBA came into the Rose Garden on Tuesday night, shot 60 percent from the field, got 28 points from its star player, and lost.  

The Dallas Mavericks rode into this game winners of 20 of their last 24 games (three of those four losses in that stretch were decided by one point).  They came in with a 23-9 mark away from Dallas.  They had been 36-3 on the season when scoring 100 points or more.  They were 38-8 on the season when shooting just 45 percent or better, 21-4 when shooting 50 percent or better, and 34-7 when leading at halftime.  Those are some crazy numbers, and the Trail Blazers didn't pay them any mind.

We previewed this game as a possible first-round playoff preview.  If that ends up being the case, we're like in for one heck of a series.  The Mavericks won the first meeting between these teams, in Dallas, 103-98.  They closed the second meeting on a 12-4 run and won it 84-81.  On this night, the Trail Blazers absorbed an incredible offensive night by the Mavericks, essentially taking their best shot, and beat them.

This one will no doubt linger in the minds of the Dallas players.  They hit their first 11 shots of the game, and shot 73 percent in the first quarter.  Yet, despite all of that, they led by only three after the first.  That was a sign of things to come.  They cooled off only a little bit after that, and could never put any distance between themselves and the Blazers.

The Rose Garden just wasn't having it on this night.  

The Blazers have now beaten the best two road teams in the NBA at the RG (San Antonio being the other).

Dirk Nowitzki was brilliant on this night, scoring 28 points on 9 of 14 shooting.  He grabbed 11 rebounds, and was 9 for 9 at the free-throw line.  He had a chance to send the game to overtime in the closing seconds, but missed.

It was a great start to a vital three-game home stand for the Trail Blazers, who were coming off a very odd road trip.  They put together those wins at Orlando and Miami, and then lost at Charlotte and Atlanta.  Everyone was wondering if they'd be able to rebuild their confidence against one of the NBA's best.

LaMarcus Aldridge probably wouldn't mind seeing Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.  He had 35 and 10 in the first meeting, 28 and 10 in the second, and in this game had 30 points and 8 rebounds.  And, he got some big-time help from an old friend.

Brandon Roy was spectacular in the second half, and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.  He hit a buzzer-beating shot to end the third, and then started the fourth with an ankle-breaking crossover on Dallas' Ian Mahinmi.  Roy also buried two clutch free throws to help the Blazers hold off the Mavs in the final minute.

Brandon scored 21 points in the game, and showed the explosiveness that has been absent from his game since returning from knee surgery.  We don't know if that'll be there every night, but it's clearly still possible.  He's clearly still a big weapon in crunch time, and wants the opportunity to take clutch shots.

It was more than just Aldridge and Roy, however.  Rudy Fernandez, who's trying to dig out of a shooting slump, had a huge steal late in this game and dished to Aldridge for a jam.  Wesley Matthews, who kept the Blazers in it early with four three pointers, also had a key steal in the final two minutes.  Marcus Camby had a massive tip in at the offensive end in the closing minutes, and Gerald Wallace was big in his first start as a Blazer.

This was a fantastic NBA game, and thank goodness for the DVR.  This one is worthy of replay after replay.

To listen to Nate McMillan's post-game comments, click here.

If the wins at Orlando and Miami made it possible for the Blazers to absorb losses at Charlotte and Atlanta, this win put them back ahead in the momentum catagory.  And, with as tight as this race in the west is, these are the kind of wins you remember in April.

The Blazers have probably learned their lesson about the dangers of emotional let downs after huge wins, so the Cleveland Cavaliers probably won't have that working in their favor on Thursday night.  But, you better believe it's a factor.  

It's Cleveland Thursday, Philadelphia on Saturday, and then a potentially huge game against the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday.

For now, it's okay to take a few moments to simply enjoy this one.

Previous Story: The Sweet 16


  1. Thanks Mike. Just wanted to say a great win for us vs. a quality team like Dallas and does take the sting away a bit from the last two games. Great start to the home-stand. Hope we take the momentum from this win for the next two games and then let's see what we can do vs. LA.
    -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 3/15/2011 10:50 PM
  2. Great game Mike, how did we pull this one off? this team just never ceases to amaze me. Wow, to see BRoy play like that just blew me away, could never get enough of that. LMA Has done great in Dallas.

    I think it was great that we were matche up with them at the 2 and seven and we knocked them down to third and moved us up to the sixth and we still play them if the play-offs start today. LAL moved up to second and NOH moved down to seventh so they still play each other. That goes with the old saying "The more and more things seem to change the more and more they are the same.

    We need to keep it up

    by Hg on 3/15/2011 10:56 PM
  3. Excellent win!

    Loved seeing Roy and LA play the pick and roll at the end of the game. How are you going to defend that? :)

    Now, please no let down against the Cavs!

    by mgb on 3/15/2011 11:26 PM
  4. You have to give Nate credit for this one. He has taken a lot of heat on this site over the last couple of years for being a bad in-game decision-maker. But tonight he made some choices that made me say "What?" and got away with them. He started Gerald instead of Marcus--who saw that coming?--went with Rudy instead of Patty in the second half substitution and then stayed with him, leaving Andre on the bench. I mean, your starting point guard had a pretty fair game against these guys last year, and you leave him on the bench in a tight fourth quarter? Nate made the unorthodox moves and they worked; he deserves credit. I noticed that in my pet categories from our good games in Florida we were at it again: 8 steals and a mere 7 turnovers. (Dallas was 5 and 15). That and rebounding explains how we got enough extra shots to beat a team shooting the lights out like they were. Pressure plus poise is a winning combination. I'm guessing that a few teams in NBA history have hit their first eleven shots in a game. I'd imagine that one or two might even have done that and lost the game--a weak team that comes out blazing against a championship squad that restores order when things settle down. But it's really remarkable to see an upper-seed team against an opponent with a record in the next tier down start off that well and then lose. And although I'm not exactly Brandon's biggest fan, it was thrilling to see him take and make some big shots when we needed them most.

    by Islander on 3/15/2011 11:43 PM
  5. I had to go back and check, because you left it out of your summary of Roy's heroics in this game. It was when we had the ball, leading by 3, with 43 seconds left, and I said "Blazers to make this shot and win" and Brandon hit the shot and we did indeed win. And of course, LaMarcus was back in form: the foundation on which this team's success is built.

    by Islander on 3/15/2011 11:52 PM
  6. I've never see Dallas so good all season, and I've seen some of their games. First round would be fine by me.

    by Herr on 3/16/2011 12:31 AM
  7. The mavericks played so well at various stages, executing extremely well and hitting such a high percentage. The star player Nowitzki drops 30 without hardly taking any shots, yet we still managed to win.
    Was certainly a really good win and I think it's a good matchup for the blazers going forward! I liked the lineup they played today, It's good to be flexible and I think we have a really flexible team and can play a lot of lineups depending on the opponent. Top win!!

    by Becker24 on 3/16/2011 2:14 AM
  8. Jeckyl& Hyde. LMA doing everything. Roy playing like of old. Rudy not only playing well but shooting well, although when he passed up that wide open three my wife said "Say something don't just sit there and have a stroke.".

    When we see this team play with this kind of energy we seldom lose. And if they do lose you know that they gave it their best.

    by Ancientone on 3/16/2011 4:54 AM
  9. Ancientone: You are spot on. I felt the same as you did about the open 3, but my wife said, if you are going to turn it over anyway why not shoot the three? With my reply, if he had missed it you would have said, Live by the Three, die by the three. Regardless of the ifs and whys Mike and Mike said that was the reason he was out there.

    Nate said he just kept the players in there that was making their shots. Last year in the play-offs when they got Martell and Rudy to finally make threes and cut the lead down, he yanked them out and put in his old faithfuls. Therefore I see this as Nate is learning. If you are hot you play, if you are not you sit.

    The old LMA and BRoy was the high light of the night, regardless of the outcome. Even the pessimistic would have to have a warm heart in that respect.

    by Hg on 3/16/2011 5:35 AM
  10. If the Blazers do end up playing the Mavs in the 1st round, then I like our chances to make some noise in the play-offs. GO BLAZERS!!!

    by blazerdarren77 on 3/16/2011 5:41 AM
  11. Mike, according to the schedule on the Blazers web site, Philadelphia on Saturday, not Friday.

    by OregonWomble on 3/16/2011 6:01 AM
  12. Yes it was a great game!!Go Blazers!!

    by supereagle20 on 3/16/2011 6:01 AM
  13. OregonWomble:

    My schedule is the same, because I was dreding playing a surging Philly game on a btb with the LAL being the second game. That is because of fear of the Blazers playing conservative to save energy then maybe losing both.

    We need to be sure to get the Philly game before we worry about the Lakers game.

    by Hg on 3/16/2011 7:39 AM
  14. You're right. Philly on Saturday. How could I forget that we play the Lakers on the second of a back to back?

    by mikebarrett on 3/16/2011 7:39 AM
  15. We do? Oh boy...

    Anyways, I thought it was funny that some Mav fans were complaining about injuries as to why they lost, claiming we're at full strength. HAH! I love it when that happens.

    by Herr on 3/16/2011 12:16 PM
  16. Little do they know eh Herr.

    by Ancientone on 3/16/2011 12:33 PM
  17. got to watch this one thanks to the nbatv fan game pick (or whatever it's called). it was a tremendous 48-minute effort. i think sometimes i may sound like a broken record by saying that, but it's true. when we play hard for 48 minutes, good things happen. i don't recall there being a letdown at all.

    dallas' shooting was frustrating to watch. it was unbelievable. i thought they would cool off a bit after the first quarter or halftime, and they did -- just barely.

    we made key shots when we needed them and, after taking the lead, never gave it back. that's a sign of a team who is progressing and who wants to win. All the guys contributed, but seeing Brandon play like that proves to me that he's still got it. he was our mr. clutch last night.

    one other thing: when did the mavericks players attend the Kobe Bryant School of Complaining to the Officials? it seemed like they were whining at every call. i really would have anticipated seeing more technical fouls than the one that was actually called.

    Herr: i guess some teams don't handle adversity as well as others, huh?!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/16/2011 12:50 PM
  18. I am glad the Mavs were shooting so hot, we beat them when they were their best (even if we were at full strength LOL)

    by Hg on 3/16/2011 1:39 PM
  19. The thing I don't get is they won like 20 of their last 25 and when they lose to a Blazer team it's because Caron Butler's not there. Made me giggle like a school girl. Not really, but it was pretty pathetic.

    Anywho, I'm glad to see the Blazers back to playing well. Problem is, the last blog I said I'd be nervous of getting an emotional victory and then dropping a game because we think it'd be easy... too easy. Well, we got the emotional victory, hopefully the Blazers take these games seriously. Roy said that's what they're working on.

    So... tonight OKC vs Miami. Unless it's too easy to tell, I normally talk on NBA.com and talk a lot of basketball. A lot of folks think the 3 more points OKC has scored than us makes OKC a lot better of a team. They fell similar to the way we fell at home against the Heat. Let's see if they can win in Miami. My prediction? Heat get up by 40 and end up winning by 6.

    Can't believe I'm saying this but... go Atlanta! Win at least this game for me, I'm already prepared for you to get swept in the first or second round of the playoffs.

    by Herr on 3/16/2011 2:33 PM
  20. but Herr: you know the only reason why we lost to charlotte and atlanta was because Greg and Elliot are injured and Luke is in idaho. *sniff sniff* if we would have had those guys we would have won *sniff sniff* lol

    sorry, being sarcastic makes me giggle like the school girl i use to be!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/16/2011 3:26 PM
  21. Kass,

    If we had Oden this year we would have went 82-0. :)

    by mgb on 3/16/2011 7:00 PM
  22. Here is a thought for you all about LaMarcus Aldridge.

    Before this season began, the most total points LaMarcus Aldridge ever scored in a season was 1,470. That was done in the '08-'09 season. He also played 81 games that year as well.

    This season he's played in all 67 games and has a total of 1,499 points so far this season.

    Theoretically Aldridge could be shutout for the last 15 games and still set a new career high in scoring average. Pretty cool huh?

    by Shem on 3/16/2011 8:04 PM
  23. Great write up again MB. I had the pleasure of attending both the Spurs and Mavs games we won at home this year...what a treat both nights & the RG was ROCKING HARD!!! I can safely say that Blazermania is alive and well in PDX!!!

    by DPR Rip City on 3/17/2011 2:09 AM
  24. The good part of this win is we beat a great team that unquestionably played well. It was not a lapse on the Mav's part.

    I was happy to see LaMarcus get back to banging bodies, taking it to the hole, and drawing fouls. Breaking down the inside is paramount for allowing our offense to breath. Without it we live and die by our outside game. We all know that's not good. We need Aldridge to own the inside.

    Rudy played with phenomenal energy. He is that X factor that takes us to the next level. Nate McMillan called it first and I'm on board with his assessment. Rudy's A game takes us to the next level.

    And Roy, Roy, Roy. He is unquestionably a top closer in the NBA, above Lebron. He's up there with Kobe and Wade. He's more clutch than Clyde the Glide was. Yep, i said it.

    Go Blazers!

    by thedanman on 3/17/2011 6:34 AM
  25. thedanman:
    I watch games from the NBA package, and as often is, I have to watch the the opposing team announcers with their TV cameras so I miss lots of the action on the floor from the Blazers side. Not gripping of course, I love Wheels and tone, but Wheels can paint a false picture in your mind quite often LOL, therefore I thank you for the update on the play of players. Even KGW doesn't show all the hustle Rudy has and the play of BRoy, but enough to get the idea. I was as ticked as Nate was when he didn't shoot that three. I read his post and have simmered down a bit.


    To do some well earned bragging rights because of my homerism LOL. I got a greenie on the Blazer Edge blog on Ben's article on the Blazers win. Wow that makes me feel great.

    by Hg on 3/17/2011 9:11 AM
  26. Guys, please practice some humility. Too many of "us" (myself included) can be pompous regarding our NBA comprehension. I remember one fan proclaiming that we would win 50 games this season - yeah, not gonna happen. I remember another fan professing that this year's upcoming draft would be a strong one according to college basketball analyst - hmm... analyst from a far away galaxy? I also remember another fan pronouncing the detriment of the Denver Nuggets post Carmelo - yeah like that has happen. If anyone wants proof, please apprise and I will provide!

    I beseech my fellow Blazer fanatics to acknowledge the obvious - that we are just Blazer fanatics. We love our team, we love our guys and at the core we are biased. We also are not employed by the Blazers and any organization or entity that covers the Blazers and what not. As fans, we must accept and appreciate that we neither are fully abreast with the NBA or Trailblazer developments nor do we possess the NBA or Trailbalzer acumen to make audacious prognosticating claims. If we did, then we aren't in the right business (contact Stern or Allen).

    Closing I like to implore that we agree to disagree on these blogs. Let's not demonize and patronize Blazer fans for having non-consenting opinions. Let's be civil, hospitable and cordial to all and any opinions fellow Blazer fans may have; do not flout, balk and scoff at opinions from which disapprove. While this blog is not a democracy, it should strive to be one whenever possible. With the exception to inappropriate material, anything and everything should be fair game. For whatever the topic or differences, discussing dissent is key to dissolving dissolution.

    by Roland on 3/17/2011 10:46 AM
  27. Roland:

    I am not sure if you are trying to reprehend us for being bad, warn us for being blind fans, or expressing powers that be for control.

    I feel we are very civil on this sight. We are very Blazer bias, but that is what this blog is about blazer fans giving their opinion. You don't need to beg us, or demand us to acknowledge that fact that we are homers and fanatics.

    on the contrary, many of our posters are very knowledgeable on the trailblazers and the NBA and therefore have the right to stress the opinions to make good judgment on decisions

    by Hg on 3/17/2011 11:40 AM
  28. oh brother ... is someone else trying to tell people what they're allowed to say here? note to Roland: that never works around here. if i or anyone else wants to state their opinion, comment or make predictions, it's their decision. period. of course, you could go to MB and Wheels, who each predicted the blazers would reach over 50 wins this season. see how that works for you.

    Hg; very nice comments. you're correct, we are fans and we're probably biased on many things in blazerland. this is our team and we're proud of them. we boast when we win and criticize when we lose. i, for one, would not have it any other way.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/17/2011 12:38 PM
  29. Kassandra: thanks for the props. I too would not have it any other way. It would be a very boring blog if we all felt the same about every game and completly agreed with every one else.

    by Hg on 3/17/2011 12:52 PM
  30. How much longer must I stay silent while you hypocrites pretend to be open minded? I'm probably dating myself here, but you remind me of the snake in Disney's Jungle Book. His eyes rotate in a hypnotic transe as he says, "Trust in me". I trust you people as bout as far as I can throw you. Bloggers beware!
    Winning? At last some tiger blood from our team. I recently consulted my think tank on the blazers ability to not underestimate their opponents. Admittedly, the tank consists of two mindless, bikini-clad bimbettes that recently burned themselves pretty badly after a freak Iguana barbecueing accident, but who cares? At least they looked good doing it. The game against Dallas was like 5 boys against Two and a Half men. Maybe you think I need to check into rehab after such a statement but I've got everything I need here at the ranch. A cold beer (well actually a half rack), a warm cushion, and a full case of Beiber fever. Yes, the dreamy-eyed, teen-aged heart throb has got me all misty eyed. Note how I weave blazer news into mindless jibberish. That's called professionalism people, professionalism.
    Who could have foreseen that I'd find myself in a six-day, four letter word called "work", somewhere in Newport? My Hummer with a broken axle, and a tsunami heading my way. Dead in the water is really what this blazer season has been all about, and overcoming adversity. May the team rise from the ashes like the Phoenix.

    by Phi Slamma on 3/17/2011 3:50 PM
  31. Look for the bare necessities
    The simple bare necessities
    Forget about your worries and your strife
    I mean the bare necessities
    Old Mother Nature's recipes
    That brings the bare necessities of life

    Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
    I couldn't be fonder of my big home
    The bees are buzzin' in the tree
    To make some honey just for me
    When you look under the rocks and plants
    And take a glance at the fancy ants
    Then maybe try a few

    The bare necessities of life will come to you
    They'll come to you!

    by mgb on 3/17/2011 4:09 PM
  32. MGB that is good, thank you for sharing with us.

    by Hg on 3/17/2011 4:22 PM
  33. Babbitt had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Stampede.


    It's the Bobbitt to Babbitt connection!

    by mgb on 3/17/2011 6:00 PM
  34. Just as I thought, the Blazers had a let down against the Cavs and was out scored 25-22 in the 4th.

    by mgb on 3/17/2011 8:37 PM
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