On April 19th 2011, the Dallas Mavericks looked to take a 2-0 series lead against the Portland Trail Blazers. It would have been the first 2-0 series lead for the Mavs since 2006 when they took a 2-0 series lead against the Miami Heat and well, you know…
During playoff time, I always had this uneasy feeling in my stomach leading up to each and every game. So, even though the Mavs came away with a win in game 1 and were the higher seed in the series, I was extremely nervous heading into game 2. I literally live and die with every bucket.
In that era of basketball, leads tended to hold more weight than they do now with the increased pace and increase in points scored so anytime a team jumped out to an early lead back then, I felt like it was time to be really nervous wondering if the game was about to get away from them.
In game 2, Dallas did exactly what you don’t want your team to do in a home playoff game and that is fall behind by 8 points (17-9) in the first quarter with three minutes left. So at that point, I’m really feeling uneasy.
Dallas quickly went on a 13-7 run to close the gap to just two points heading to the 2nd quarter.
I would remain on that emotional roller coaster for the remainder of the game even though the Mavs never trailed again after Jason Kidd hit a go-ahead three coming out of halftime to put the Mavs up 53-52. The teams exchanged blows the remainder of the game before the Mavs eventually pulled away to win 101-89.
Dirk finished with the last 11 points in this game and it was clear to me that Dirk was on a mission and no one on Portland could contain him, which was the opposite of what the analysts were saying before the series. They thought that the Mavs were undersized at guard and that Portland had more than enough bodies to throw at Dirk.
After the game concluded and the Mavs were up 2-0, I remember thinking “alright, so now just win one game in Portland and come back and finish them off in 5 at home.” I thought that was money in bank because the Mavs has been the best road team all season. I should have known being after years of being a Mavs fan, that wasn’t the way things would go.
Hero of Game Two
The biggest strength for the 2011 Mavs was how deep the bench was. Of course, everyone knew Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Brendan Haywood were the first three coming off the bench and were going to play every night.
Then, you had guys like Corey Brewer, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic who Rick Carlisle could turn to at any moment because those guys were professionals and stayed ready. In this game, the hero was Peja. He had 21 points in 27 minutes on this night, which was enough to outscore the entire bench of Portland who combined for 11 points off the bench. Peja hit 5 threes in the game including two in 4th. The second three in the 4th put the Mavs up 8 and all but sealed the W. For the series, Stojakovic would end up averaging 9.5 PPG while shooting close to 42% from beyond the arc.
My 3 box score Takeaways
- Looking back at the box score of this game is crazy to me. Both teams played hard as Rasheed Wallace once famously said, but really, the main difference outside of bench points is that Portland committed 26 turnovers and Dallas only committed 12.
- How different today’s game is compared to the game that was played in 2011 is pretty crazy. The teams combined for 33 three point attempts and in today’s game, that’s easily one team’s total.
- Four of Portland’s five starters scored in double figures compared to the Mavs’ two. Aldridge led with 24, Gerald Wallace added 18, Andre Miller had 18 and Wes Matthews had 13.
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