The Dallas Mavericks went into Wednesday night’s matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers looking for their second road win of the season and their eighth win overall. After Seth Curry hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the second quarter, the Mavs (8-21) shocked the Portland crowd by holding a 62-38 advantage. However, no lead is safe in the NBA, and the Trail Blazers (8-13) proved that in the second half as they made a furious comeback to cut the Mavs lead to just one point. With 9.8 seconds remaining, the Blazers had one last chance to complete their comeback. The ball was put in Damian Lillard‘s hand on the final possession, but Wesley Matthews showcased one of the best individual defensive sequences of the entire season:
Great defense by Wesley Matthews seals the deal for the @dallasmavs! They beat @trailblazers 96-95 in a thriller. Barnes: 28 points! #MFFL pic.twitter.com/bc9kQrKIjj
— NBA (@NBA) December 22, 2016
Even though it was a lot more stressful than it needed to be, the Mavs secured their eighth win of the season, winning by the final score of 96-95. The Mavs handed the Trailblazers their fourth consecutive loss.
For as bad as this season has been so far, things might not be as bad as we all think, according to the Mavs’ play-by-play radio announcer, Chuck Cooperstein:
OK, here's the craziest stat of night. Mavs are only 4 games out of 8th in West.
— Chuck Cooperstein (@coopmavs) December 22, 2016
That really is crazy when you think about it. For all this talk we’ve been doing about tanking, there’s still a real chance that this thing can be turned around if health permits. J.J. Barea made his return from injury in the previous game against the Denver Nuggets. On Wednesday, however, Barea had to leave the game with a sore achilles and did not return. Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bogut continue to be out due to injuries, but Dirk could be coming back very soon. Although he didn’t play Wednesday night, Dirk was listed as questionable and will practice with the team this week. If I had to take a guess, I’d say Dirk will make his return on December 26th in New Orleans. If the Mavs can become healthy and find a way to run off 4 or 5 wins in a row, we might be changing our expectations for this season.
Players of the Game:
Barnes led all #Mavs w/ 28 pts & 7 reb.
D-Will had 23 pts, 5 ast, 5reb
Wes had 16 pts, 3 ast, 4 reb, & some outstanding Def. #DALatPOR
— Dallas Sports Fanati (@Dallas_Fanatic) December 22, 2016
Quote of the Game:
Rick Carlisle: "There's nobody like Wes Matthews on defense at the end of the game. The guy is unbelievable." #DALatPOR
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) December 22, 2016
The Mavs will face a very tough Los Angeles Clippers team who will be coming off the second night of a back-to-back on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. CT. If Dallas wants people to truly believe that they can come back and make the playoffs, then they need to come out with an aggressive mentality and get their second win in a row.
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