Jan 29

Another Unbelievable Finish

By mikebarrett Posted in: Mavericks
How can these amazing come-from-behind wins keep getting more dramatic and more improbable?  Each time we think we've seen this group of Blazers pull a rabbit out of a hat, they come back to one-up themselves.

This time it was LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored five points in the final four seconds of regulation, including the game winner at the horn, as the Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-104.  

That alone would be amazing enough, but it doesn't tell even half the story.  Portland actually trailed in this game 69-48 with 8:30 to go in the third quarter.  But, it gets better.  They trailed 101-94 with 1:37 left.  

Then, came a flurry of three pointers, each bigger than the previous one.  

With the Blazers trailing 101-98, Nic Batum, who had been off the mark all night long, tied the game with a bomb with 28 seconds left.  Dallas then came down, kicked the ball out top, and Dirk Nowitzki threw in a dagger from behind the arc with 12 seconds left.  The Blazers then tried to go to Batum again, but he kicked the ball to LaMarcus Aldridge who hit his first three pointer of the season with 4.9 seconds left to tie the game at 104.  

After that, came perhaps the best coaching move of the game by Terry Stotts.  He hustled Ronnie Price, the veteran, into the game for Damian Lillard.  Price drew a huge offensive foul on O.J. Mayo with just 1.5 seconds left (you want bench production?  Don't measure production by points alone.  It's this kind of stuff that guys keep providing at key moments that make wins like this possible).

After Portland's final timeout of the game, and just 1.5 on the clock, the Blazers drew up a play that's first option was Batum in the corner.  When that was defended, they went to Aldridge who lofted up a turnaround jumper over Brandan Wright.  The shot went in, just beating the buzzer, and the Blazers celebrated another win.

Crazy finish.  

The only finish that I can remember that is in the same league with this one, was two years ago, when the Blazers beat San Antonio on a last-second lob to Batum.  In that game, Batum scored four points in the final 1.9 seconds.  I didn't think we'd see a finish that measured up to that one for a long, long time.  

It's tough to measure this victory by itself though.  It's the eighth time this season the Trail Blazers have come back to win after trailing by 11 or more points.  It was their first win when trailing by 21 points.

And, make no mistake, this was a huge win for the Blazers, all drama aside.  Dallas came into the game having won six of their last eight.  Their only two losses during that stretch had been to San Antonio and Oklahoma City.  This put a huge dent in the momentum they had been building since getting Nowitzki back, and starting on this role.  Before this game the Blazers had talked about feeling Dallas nipping at their heels in the Western Conference standings.  This was also the first game of a very tough four-game road trip for the Mavs.  They were very good for much of this game.  But, as they have experienced time and time again this season, they failed to close.

The Mavericks are now 2-7 in games decided by four points or fewer.  All we were saying late is how they didn't want to see overtime, where they are 1-8 on the season.  The Blazers, meanwhile, are now 8-3 in games decided by three points or fewer, and are 5-1 in overtime games.

There's one more thing that was pointed out to me that puts a cap on this night.  Longtime Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler started "Lawler's Law" many years ago.  It simply says, "the first team to 100 wins."  Since 1978 that has been correct 91.5% of the time.  The Trail Blazers have now broken Lawler's Law twice in the last three games.

For Aldridge, it's the second time he's broken Dallas' hearts at the buzzer.  Late last season he beat them at the buzzer in Dallas.  Now, he's done it again.  Oh, and he's from Dallas.

Clearly, this took more than Aldridge.  There was Batum's three, Wesley Matthews' four key steals, and JJ Hickson's 26 points and 15 rebounds.  Damian Lillard had 8 assists.  Price took the huge offensive foul, Luke Babbitt drilled a big three, and Sasha Pavlovich was huge in his 9 minutes of action.  He ended with a +13 in the plus/minus category.  Babbitt was a +20.  I don't always love the +/- stat, but on this night it's a telling category.

I hope you didn't turn off the game too early.  You should know better by now.


  1. It truly was an amazing game and the atmosphere in the RG was electric. I hope that they can keep up this kind of energy and effort for the rest of the season. Even though the bench didn't score a lot, they played well tonight. Well done guys. Rip City Baby!!!!

    by AussieBlazerFan on 1/30/2013 12:27 AM
  2. Turn it off. Blazers down by 20. Nowitzki is killin' us! Go make a TV dinner. Maybe watch some Pawn Stars. New Top Chef is on.

    suckaaaas! Missed one heckuva Blazer game!

    by Tobyus Sanchezo on 1/30/2013 1:12 AM
  3. In case, you missed it, there is the incredible finish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAv9pS5pFDA

    by Shem on 1/30/2013 3:30 AM
  4. WOW! is all I can say.
    Love that LaMarcus finally got his big finish.
    He has been so quietly steady this season.
    Sometimes I wonder where he's been and then I see his big point totals.
    He gets the job done without much ado.
    I am happy that he got the game ending finish he did. Loved the three from the corner and then the finisher. Just awesome!

    by allie-oop on 1/30/2013 6:47 AM
  5. LaMarcus' game winner was special, all right, but the single play which stands out to me is his three pointer just before that. when i heard it was he who was shooting that i immediately didn't have the best of feelings. he can do everything on the court, but threes? LaMarcus has definitely turned into a Mavericks killer.

    JJ was absolutely amazing last night. Imo, he kept us in it mush of the game. i love when he brings it the way he did. i had a feeling he would have a great game, so much so that i had made him my pick 2 click.

    while the finish was terrific, i really wish we would not put ourselves in a hole prior to the fourth quarter. how many times have i mentioned in my comments here that we need to play 48 minutes?

    on the other hand, it's the Mavs own fault -- they should already know that having a 20-plus point lead over us in the rose garden just doesn't mean anything when it comes to the final outcome.

    one last thing: LaMarcus > Dirk.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/30/2013 8:55 AM
  6. Hey Mike! Wow, what a game....that I didn't see. I'll admit, I'm busy with some academic things, though unlike before I am in town. I was recently in Georgia and South Carolina working at some hospitals and clinics and I was able to catch the Miami game - but as it was late, I turned it off at halftime - lo and behold, you can imagine my shock when I woke up the next morning!! Then, the other day, the first of the home and home with the Clippers, I was watching a few minutes of the 4th and it was so sloppy, I turned it off, I get paliptiations in the 4th, when I feel like we have a chance at winning and we seem to be throwing away chances. Again, I missed that mini-comeback as well! As some of my fellow Blazer fans will know, I missed the epic playoff comeback when I was still over in Prague, as it was the odd hours of the morning at halftime of that game - so I have a long history of missing these epic games :(

    I didn't catch any of last night's game, but when I heard what happened, just blew my mind - again! I think we can all agree that being in a hole is never good...I miss the games where we are at least within 5 or in the lead towards the start of the 4th. I do give credit to this team, that they never give up no matter how late it is in the game. These days in the league, being down 10 with only a few minutes left, doesn't mean it's over by any means, whereas maybe in the past, where the game was maybe slower (?) it did signal the game was over if the deficit was that large and the time was little.

    Anyways, really proud of this team. That 6 game skid did hurt after a great run just preceding it, but part of the process I guess.

    Thanks as always, for your prompt post :)

    by Anees on 1/30/2013 7:56 AM
  7. Oh one more thing, LOVE NIC's reaction as LA took the shot! So glad I chose his number, after more than 2 decades of being a fan, as my first ever purchased Blazers jersey. - Dr. Anees

    by Anees on 1/30/2013 8:17 AM
  8. My wife says she's sure my coronary stents are wide open because I pass another stress test every few days with the Blazers.

    I agree with Kassandra that if we can come back from 21 down with tough defense and focus we shouldn't be getting 21 down in the first place.

    by Ancientone on 1/30/2013 9:15 AM
  9. Hi Mike,
    I give up. There is no way to describe the amount of heart, soul and fight this team has. The defense played by Wes in the last minute of that game was incredible. I have to mention the inbounds pass from Wes to LaMarcus ( not Stotts first option) was in LMA's favorite spot on the floor. Left block, 13 feet away, back to the basket. That is why Batum knew it was in before it left LMA's hand.
    I'm glad you mentioned Ronnie Price. When I saw both his feet planted firmly outside the circle my first thought was, what is he doing in the game. Score was tied 4.5 seconds left. I did not see Stotts sneak him in there. Ronnie came from the weak side just like they had they emphasized the day before in preparation for Dallas. Ronnie made the play but it was almost as if Stotts walked him to that spot on the floor. Beautiful, beautiful coaching.
    I'm glad you mentioned Luke's plus/minus. Him and Sasha turned that game but it won't show up in the stats.
    I too don't put very much weight on the plus minus. Look at JJ's. It is no indication of the game he had. Without him in the first half the hole may have been too deep.
    I can proudly say I never gave up on this game. These boys do it time and time again. This is a special special team and it has nothing to do with wins and losses.

    by the golden ladder on 1/30/2013 9:22 AM
  10. Ancientone;
    My wife almost won the battle of turning the channel in the first half. I held my ground. Pick your battles right ? I kept telling her this team does not give up. At the end I think she jumped higher than I did. Another Blazer believer.

    by the golden ladder on 1/30/2013 9:32 AM
  11. Kassandra;
    A quote from Wesley Matthews.
    "We get down like a young team but we fight back like vets. It's a weird dynamic."

    by the golden ladder on 1/30/2013 10:24 AM
  12. Awesome, amazing, magnificent -there aren't enough adjectives to describe this win! Aldridge was clutch, team defense was great to get us the opportunity to make the comeback and win!

    by dockaren on 1/30/2013 10:35 AM
  13. Haha! Batum had done half a victory lap before the shot went in!!

    by AussieBlazerFan on 1/30/2013 11:42 AM
  14. Mike: my post doesn't seem to appear in the comment section, are you punishing me by brandishing me from posting☺.
    As known by all you and your faithful blog followers that Tuesday night is my bowling night, and with me not watching the games, we usually win. In fact last year Kassandra thought we should play every game on Tuesday.

    I did get the game on my little radio with ear phones, which usually won't work inside the building. So that was my first stroke of luck. but my bad luck was that when we were down 5 with a little over a minute to go, it was my turn to bowl and it was the tenth frame; figuring we had lost the game and the game was over before I finished bowling, that we lost and I would read the post game reports when I got home. I had about 3 hrs of toilet cleaning (poor me), and in those 3 hrs I was stressing out because we lost a game I was sure we were going to win. In fact, I told Vicki, my wife when we were down 21 not to fret we would come back and win. Nevertheless, when I came home to check the cap sheets, I at first thought it was a mistake. Wow, I do still not believe it.
    That is my story and I am sticking with it.

    Ancientone, you burnt enough calories doing your stress test of watching the Blazers that you can have a big bowl of Ice cream while you read this novel or join Kassandra with her rabbit food, LMAO.

    by Hg on 1/30/2013 1:15 PM
  15. No rabbit food.

    by Ancientone on 1/30/2013 1:42 PM
  16. I think one thing these game validated was Terry Stotts' insistance that shooters keep shooting. In the middle of the game guys got frustrated because of all the misses and started turning down shots they normally make. That just helped dig a deeper hole. But eventually Wes and Damian started hitting from outside, and Ronnie Price hit that three that had both Mikes cringing before it went in, and Luke kept shooting and finally got some results and Nic, who was having trouble with his wrist and had missed two big free throws had the confidence to jack up an agressive three that went down, and so Dallas ended up knowing they had a lot of guys to cover at the end. So they left LaMarcus, the only guy in the line-up who doesn't normally shoot from beyond the line, open with time to get off a smooth three-pointer. Of course we also had to play some good defense to get those chances, and that was a lot of fun too. Let's face it, these games with the late comeback are just a kick in the pants, with the fans at home whooping and laughing along with the players and the fans in the stands. Whether or not we hold it together for a play-off spot--and I'd really hate for the Lakers to knock us out with a late surge--we have still had an awful lot of fun watching this team. I wouldn't gripe too much, though, if we could get just a few more wire-to-wire victories.

    by David Maclaine on 1/30/2013 3:40 PM
  17. @David Maclaine: We are already ahead of where we thought we would be, If the Lakers get on a run as long as we are winning too, it would be someone else that we both would push out. Let's start this weekend by taking the Jazz two. Even a split would do me good since the first one is on their court and we have to play the second one at home with tired legs.

    by Hg on 1/30/2013 4:19 PM
  18. Olshey says - He doesn't have a selfish bone in his body. We are lucky to have him on our team.
    Stotts says - It doesn't surprise me. I see him do it every day in games and practice.
    His teammates say (all of them) - He is our best player.
    NBA coaches - Put him on the all-star team despite uneducated fans not voting him in.
    He has transformed himself from weak rebounder to a strong rebounder. Can someone tell me what his rebound average is for January ?
    I've seen him stand up for himself and his teammates against bullies in the league. Like Perkins, Griffin, Garnett ect.
    He never shows any emotion. He just goes to work everyday.
    The best part of the game last night and so far this season was seeing the smile, the pure joy, on his face.

    by Divotking on 1/30/2013 5:28 PM
  19. The NBA says the Price call was a bad call. What does that mean? What does it change?

    by Ancientone on 1/30/2013 6:19 PM
  20. Ancientone;
    It changes nothing.
    The NBA has recognized bad calls by the refs on many occasions. It is something they never used to do. I believe it is more of a PR move than anything.
    Remember the goaltending call on LaMarcus against OKC. It actually led to a rule change.
    There is a questionable call in every single NBA game ever played. They commented on this one because it happened at a critical part of the game.
    To me what goes around comes around. It happens to every team. Sorry Dallas. On to the next game.

    by Divotking on 1/30/2013 7:32 PM
  21. @the golden ladder: i understand the mentality, but the reality is that this will eventually come back to bite us.

    @Hg: i only said that when we had won every game on tuesdays. since then, not so much. and so what if i eat a lot of greens and things from the garden? i'm just trying to be healthy!

    @Ancientone & Divotking: is it just me or is the league's statement a huge load in the pants? i checked it out on their site and Ronnie put himself directly and exactly in Mayo's path. i'm thinking Stern issued that statement himself.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/30/2013 8:57 PM
  22. The Blazers have become a huge burr on the Mav's saddle. Recall that in the 2010 playoffs, we were the only team to win more than one game against them on their way to the NBA title. BRoy was the big hero in Game 4 of that series, only fitting that LA be the guy this time.

    by dgpdx on 1/30/2013 9:12 PM
  23. Kassandra, you run 4 miles every morning, you do need the greens but you need protien and fat to kick in for long runs, without eating Protiens your body start eating its muscles because you need that extra protein.

    But, hey I was just joking, and we beat Mavs on Tuesday.

    by Hg on 1/31/2013 1:10 AM
  24. @Kassandra: I've looked at the replays and I think that Price was there too. It is certainly more than a brown streak if you ask me.

    by Ancientone on 1/31/2013 6:48 AM
  25. @Hg: actually, it's five miles, five days a week now. i eat plenty of things other than just greens, including proteins, carbs and fats. Julie sees to it that we have plenty of pizza, nachos and pasta. at home, Angi cooks spaghetti about once a week; i swear that girl would eat it for every meal!.

    @Ancientone: exactly. i'm not sure why they would make that determination, unless it gave them an out to apologize to the Mavs for... well, making the correct call. i'm still confused.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/31/2013 7:21 AM
  26. Kass;
    Maybe Stern was trying to save Mark Cuban some money. Issue a statement before issuing a fine.

    by Divotking on 1/31/2013 8:20 AM
  27. Hey Kassandra, your diet sound great, BTW, I love rabbit food too, If you can remember, the discussion way back when with my long comments Ancientone had to go get a snack to get all the way through it, Now, I don't remember the details, but I think, reading one of your novels the same day as he read one of mine, he decided to have a big bowl of Raspberry Ice cream, and you piped in with eating greens or at least veggies for snacks, well something like that. Any way it is a standing joke every time I get round up with excitement or discontent.
    Anyway keep on doing ♥

    The charge or block foul is like you said BS, that can be debated almost everytime down the floor, with picks or illegal picks, pushing off or just doing a normal arm swing,, all those controversy calls. so to determine after slow motion over and over again doesn't change a thing, If the Mavs choose to use that one play to determine a win or a loss then they are in a world of hurt. BTW, I bet you that you could go through the game and find many, many calls or non calls that could have changed the the outcome of the game, and I never got to watch the game.

    On to the next games, a split would be satisfactory to me, a sweep would be awesome, and losing both wouldn't be the end of the world since the first game is there and the second of the B2B is at the RG; we don't do good on the end of B2B because of depth even at the RG.

    by Hg on 1/31/2013 8:23 AM
  28. Hg;
    Agreed. If Stern viewed the call in real time, he would see the defensive man was there and set. To watch it in slow motion, perhaps it doesn't follow the letter of the rule. Consistency is what fans want. 90 % of the time that is a charging call.

    by the golden ladder on 1/31/2013 9:39 AM
  29. @Divotking: You took the words out of my mouth. I've seen the replay enough and I just don't see how it's clearly a blocking foul unless there is something I'm not aware of when it comes to the rules.

    by Shem on 1/31/2013 11:56 PM
  30. @Shem: We are a small market.

    by Ancientone on 2/1/2013 6:52 AM
  31. Shem;
    I think the rule states if the offensive man starts his upward shooting motion the defensive man must be set. That is simply not how it is called on the floor. Stern threw his refs under the bus. Shame on him. Making nice with Dallas I suppose.

    by the golden ladder on 2/1/2013 8:21 AM
  32. Pinwheel made another great video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3vgkKtH750

    by Shem on 2/1/2013 9:43 PM
  33. The NBA was correct about the call. Granted our guy was in position when the shooter came down on him, but he was not in position when the shooter left his feet to shoot. Circle or not, good position or not, moving in front of an airborne shooter has always been a blocking foul due to the potential for serious injury.

    by dgpdx on 2/1/2013 9:55 PM
  34. What now ?
    Do we go back to Victor ? OR Is it time to give Barton his run ?

    by Divotking on 2/2/2013 8:02 AM
  35. @Divotking: I was wondering the same thing; our defensive end will by the worst off without Matthews, and Claver fills that better. I am wondering who will replace Price to back up Lillard, will it be Nolan, or use Barton and let Batum be the play maker or none of the above or all of the above ☺? Whatever with Batum's wrist, Wesley's ankle, and Prices ankle, we had best hope nothing happens to Lillard.

    by Hg on 2/2/2013 11:03 AM
  36. Hg;
    Good call. Maybe Batum at back up point. Why not he does everything else for us. He says his wrist bothers him when shooting. He has played point for the French National. Stotts will have a trick up his sleeve.
    My vote is noNolan. Only in emergency.

    by Divotking on 2/2/2013 11:35 AM
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