After spending my Saturday afternoon with the fans at the Rose Garden viewing party and watching the Dallas Mavericks snatch Game 1 over the Portland Trail Blazers 89-81, I had a few notes from the game.
1. Dallas lived at the free-throw line:
The Mavericks frequented the free-throw line 16 more times than the Trail Blazers. They took 29 attempts and converted 25. Dirk Nowitzki hit 13-of-13 from the line, with all of his free throws coming in the fourth quarter. He scored 18 points in the period.
2. Portland didn’t get to the stripe as much:
The Trail Blazers were far in the distance to chasing Dallas at the line. Andre Miller hit 4-of-5 and LaMarcus Aldridge made 3-of-4 as Portland converted 9-of-13 free throws.
3. Trail Blazers HAVE to hit the easy ones:
When you have a chance to cut a deficit to a single possession, take advantage of your opportunity. Brandon Roy missed a crucial free throw with 1:30 left that would have trimmed a four-point Mavericks’ lead down 79-82.
4. Higher shooting percentage doesn’t always get the win:
Portland bettered Dallas from the floor, completing 46 percent to the Mavericks’ 40. Nowitzki struggled from the field for most of the night, making just 7-of-20 for a game-high 28 points. Aldridge led Portland with 27 points, and Miller and Nicolas Batum added 18 and 14 respectively.
5. Gerald Wallace HAS to finish at the rim:
So many times Wallace drove in for a close lay-up and came up empty. Either the ball took a bad bounce off the rim or Wallace was called on a charge for lowering his shoulder through the lane. Wallace had a hard time getting in rhythm, finishing the game 4-of-13 for eight points and four fouls.
6. Forget the bad calls and keep playing:
Nate McMillian already told his players that the game would be officiated different in the playoffs. The Trail Blazers were called on 26 fouls with five apiece from Miller and Aldridge, and Roy and Wallace with 4. The Mavericks on the other hand were whistled 16 times with Jason Terry, Nowitzki and Shawn Marion sharing three each.
7. Marcus Camby dominated the glass:
Camby made a huge difference on the defensive end, pulling in a game-high 18 rebounds in his 29 minutes for the Trail Blazers.
8. Rudy and Wesley, where were the threes?
No three goggles from Wesley Matthews and one from Rudy Fernandez? 2-of-16 from deep as a team won't cut it. Especially, when Jason Kidd lit it up from beyond the arc, hitting six of Dallas’ 10 3-pointers.
9. Respect Kidd’s game:
Kidd proved that he can still be lethal from outside. He finished the game with 24 points and hit a step back three to pad a seven-point lead with 25.4 seconds remaining.
10. Use the Game 1 loss as motivation:
So we didn’t get the first one. But if Portland can win Game 2, the Trail Blazers can get home-court advantage when they return home for Game 3 and 4. Hopefully all the jitters are gone. They experienced the taste of defeat early so now they can play like its a Game 7 match from now on.
What did you think of the Game 1 loss? How can Portland bounce back in Game 2?