The Mavs returned to the scene of the crime in Portland on Thursday night. On December 7th of last year, a last second buzzer beater by Monta Ellis helped propel the Mavs over the Blazers. This time around, the Mavs came back to Oregon, re-loaded with a completely different team. In the first half, the story was all about Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis on the offensive end. Monta seemed to be playing off his confidence from that December 7th game-winner, continually breaking down and attacking the Portland guards off the dribble while finishing the half with 10 points.
Dirk took full advantage of Portland’s single coverage on him while getting several open looks leading to a 15 point first half. Defensively, the Mavs played with high energy and effort, utilizing a heavy dose of Al-Farouq Aminu, who looked fully recovered from a knee injury, to guard LaMarcus Aldridge while managing to get two steals. The Mavs took 50-46 at into halftime.
Then the third quarter happened.
Monta picked up an early foul, his fourth of the game, sending him to the bench for Devin Harris. Chandler Parsons struggled to get his shot to fall while often settling for contested jumpers. Three minutes into third quarter, the Mavs first half lead had quickly fizzled in the midst of a 19-5 Portland run. The Mavs moved to a smaller line up and the Mavs “$46 million man” began to attack the basket and slightly gain some confidence, but only ultimately finished with only 11 points.
The Blazers took advantage of the Mavs slow start to the 3rd quarter and the Mavs found themselves down big and unable to recover. Down 21 points with 7 minutes left in the game and a game in Utah the following night, Rick Carlisle waved the white flag, sending in his 3rd stringers. Charlie Villanueva saw his first action of the season and Jae Crowder had an opportunity to play extended minutes after being forced out of the rotation. In the end the story of the game was the 3rd quarter, or lack thereof for the Mavs.
The Portland Trail Blazers outscored the Mavs 35-18 in the third quarter.
The Mavs shot 5 of 23 (21.7 %) from three-point land.
The Blazers out rebounded the Mavs 53-34.
The Mavericks will head to Utah to face the Jazz tomorrow night at 8:00pm on FSSW.
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