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Late challenge by Portland leads to Mavs loss, 121-119

Late challenge by Portland leads to Mavs loss, 121-119

 

Going back to last season, when the Mavs and Trail Blazers match up, it’s always a fun, down to the wire game. For instance, the fade-away buzzer beater by Luka to send the game into overtime in Portland last season.

Tonight was a lot of the same as the two teams battled from start to finish. The Mavs got out to a hot start with a 40-point first quarter but the Blazers didn’t shy away as Damian Lillard caught fire in the second half.

As the game was in the final seconds, a challenge by Portland coach Terry Stotts reversed what would’ve been two free throws for Dorian Finney-Smith to a jump ball, which Portland won to help clinch the game, 121-119.

Luka and KP continued to produce like the All-Stars they are. Luka finished just short of his second consecutive triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists. Porzingis scored 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Challenge confusion

Personally, I was iffy, and still am, when the NBA announced that they would allow one coaches challenge per game during the 2019-20 season as a one-year trial run. Though there has been challenges during the first week of the season, tonight marked the first time a game was presumably decided due to a challenge.

What looked to be two potential free throws for Finney-Smith following an offensive rebound to give the Mavericks the lead with under 10 seconds left, turned into a jump ball that went Portland’s way due to the challenge overturn.

“I didn’t really think it wasn’t a foul but it is what it is,” Finney-Smith said. “They the same calls he get, I guess I should’ve sold it a little more.”

As one can imagine, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had some thoughts about the call that he voiced on Twitter following the game.

“Never seen a call get overturned before. Felt like a football game,” Finney-Smith joked after the loss.

Fast start

In the first quarter of the first two games of the season, the Mavericks got off to slow starts, which is something the team did a lot last season, putting themselves in an early hole that they couldn’t climb up out of.

Tonight, was a different story for Dallas, as they scored 40 points in the first 12 minutes, taking a 15 point lead into the second quarter. The Mavs were ultra aggressive on offense attacking the basket, resulting in 13 first quarter free throw attempts, making 11 of them.

Making the change to start Brunson, Wright, and Kleber alongside Luka and KP was the right move for Carlisle, as that lineup really seemed to dominate against the Pelicans on Friday.

Battle of the stars

That’s what tonight was; Luka and KP vs Dame and CJ. And boy, was it a good one. Combined 63 points for the Blazers duo compared to the 61 for the Mavericks tandem.

Luka and KP got it going early and stayed consistent during the whole contest. For Portland, McCollum scored 24 first half points as Lillard struggled. In the second half, Dame Dolla caught fire, with 26 second half points.

Thought in a loss, tonight was a good measuring stick for the Mavs young duo. If they can compete with one of the best tandems in the league like Lillard and McCollum then they can surely go toe-to-toe with nearly anyone.

Lead editor and credentialed media member covering the Dallas Mavericks | Born & raised in the Dallas area. UNT graduate. Sports writer with a hefty beard and a smooth jump shot.

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