It’s hard to win games shooting 31% from the field in the first half. It’s even harder when Damian Lillard starts the game shooting a perfect 9-9, including 7-7 from the thee point line. Lillard’s blazing hot start and the Mavericks inability to make easy looks in the first half proved to be too big of a hole to climb out of despite getting the score down to within 5 with roughly a minute to go in the 4th. Dallas loses its third straight game 108-117. They will look to end the losing streak with three straight home games next week, including a rematch with Portland on Friday.
Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews were the bright spots for the Mavericks in a rough first half. Nowitzki scored 11 of his 21 points in the 1st half. Matthews also helped keep the Mavs in it with 9 of his 23 points coming in the first half. Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. struggled. Barnes shot 0-7 and had zero points going into half-time. DSJ had 4 points on 1-4 shooting. The result was a Portland half time lead of 17, 45-62.
The Mavs came out in the second half and showed a different attitude. After what seemed like sluggish energy and a reluctance to attack in the first and second quarters, DSJ came out attacking and scored six points in the third quarter. He also had three assists, one went to Wesley Matthews who banged in a three pointer. Matthews scored 12 points in the third quarter, including three straight three pointers. Harrison Barnes finished the 3rd quarter with six consecutive points to bring the Mavs within 12 points, 79-91. At one point in the third the Portland lead was as high as 18 points.
The energy from the third carried over into the fourth quarter. Dallas registered their 14th consecutive clutch game when they cut Portland’s lead to five with roughly two minutes left to play. They would not get any closer than that though. Dennis Smith Jr. showed his closing ability by scoring 11 points in the 4th on a variety of driving lay-ups and pull-up jumpers off of the pick and roll. He was rolling until he was called for an offensive foul for being a grown man and absorbing Damian Lillard’s contact and then dunking on him. The ref didn’t like it and charged DSJ with an offensive foul that was his 5th and made him sit until 3:30 left in the game. It is a shame how the rookie is getting “rooked” by the officials. The dagger for the Mavericks came on a defensive breakdown that led to a wide open Ed Davis dunk and put the Blazers up by seven, 108-115. Dallas was inches away from getting a steal and possibly cutting Portland’s lead to three. Instead, Portland walked away with a very close win.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with a season high 21 points on 8 for 12 shooting, including 3 for 4 from the three point line. He also recorded two blocks which put him 12 behind Shawn Bradley for the most blocks in Mavericks franchise history. Dennis Smith Jr. had 21 points on 8 for 15 shooting with 6 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 turnovers. Wesley Matthews was the Mavs leading scorer with 23 points including three three-pointers. Despite a somewhat poor game, Harrison Barnes finished 2 points shy of a double-double with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Dallas will look to break their three game losing streak when they take on the Washington Wizards in Dallas at 7:30 PM central time on Fox Sports Southwest. Washington is coming into the game off of a 122-112 win against the Detroit Pistons.
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