Blazers lose momentum in fourth quarter in 89-81 loss; Dallas take 1-0 series lead

In the only playoff series in the Western Conference tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers faced the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in the first of this seven games series. After a dismal first half by the Blazers which contained too many fouls and hot shooting from Jason Kidd, the Blazers take the third quarter and an actual lead heading into the fourth and seem to ice the game away. That’s where Dirk Nowitzki came alive, and the Mavericks took Game 1 of the series 89-81 just simply dominating the fourth like he’s been doing all year long. LaMarcus Aldridge had another very effective night in front of his hometown team with pretty alley oop dunks and Andre Miller tried with all his might to keep things under control, but poor production from the rest of the Blazers along with an awesome performance from Kidd doomed Portland into losing what would’ve been a very important win.


The glaring problem that arose the minute this game started was how early Portland got into foul trouble. Two on Wesley Matthews to send him back to the bench, and some on Aldridge, Miller and Marcus Camby. The Mavs were very aggressive on the offensive end and thanks to shooting from Nowitzki and Kidd, the Mavs are suddenly on a 8-2 run. Portland take a timeout, and it turns into the Aldridge highlight reel, four straight buckets put the Blazers back in the game, most of them alley oop dunks. The Blazers grab the lead 15-14 with Aldridge posting 11 early points. Portland answer Dallas’s run with their own 8-2 run as well and things look better when Miller hits Jason Terry with two early fouls. Knowing Aldridge is the only scoring option, Miller goes to work posting up smaller guards like JJ Barea and head to the foul line. They withstand a mini Mavs run from Barea and 3 Kidd threes throughout the quarter and the Blazers are up 22-21 after one, shooting better than Dallas at 60% against 47%. The second quarter starts with Dallas on a scoring outburst on two threes by Peja Stojakovic. The Portland bench look slow and unfocused as Barea runs all over the floor, and for some reason they stop feeding the ball to Aldridge. With 8 minutes left the Mavs are up by six while Portland have one field goal in five minutes, but more fouls help Dallas grow their lead to nine. Aldridge gets another alley oop dunk that breaks Portland’s shooting spell but as luck would have it, Kidd hits another deep three to give Dallas a ten point lead. Mavs head into locker room with confidence, up 47-37 at the half. Gerald Wallace 0-6 from the field, Wesley Matthews with nothing but 3 fouls and the bench getting beaten to death from the Dallas bench.

LaMarcus Aldridge slams it home for Portlands 100,000th alley oop dunk of the night


The Blazers managed to suck the air out of the American Airlines Arena and came out controlling a 6-0 run, finally some action from Wallace and Matthews, mainly Wallace. Once again, another Kidd three bring Dallas back to ten while jumpers from Miller and Aldridge cut lead to six. A Nic Batum running lay up caps off a 10-4 Portland run while a Wallace alley oop dunk ties the game at 61. The Blazers take the lead after a Rudy Fernandez steal and AND1 lay up to go up 66-61. All the while, Dallas miss five straight shots and sensing trouble was coming, Nowitzki heads to the line thanks to some weird and awful calling from the referees. Portland continue to build their lead to six, and have the chance to go to eight on a three-on-two fast break but lose the ball out-of-bounds. This is where the Blazers lost all that gained momentum. A 19-6 Dallas run ensues, Kidd hits the dagger three with a minute left, Nowitzki ices some free throws and that’s the game. The Mavs and Mark Cuban celebrate their 23-9 run and take Game 1 from the Blazers.


Jason Kidd looked like the Jason Kidd of yesteryear tonight. Holy cow. A guy who now only averages 7.9 stinking points a game and 38% from three came alive and was simply on fire. Kidd started the game on target and gives the Blazers that dagger three to seal the victory for good; 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl on 6-10 from beyond the arc. Simply incredible. Dirk Nowitzki hit the key shots when the time was right and thanks to those refs, he got his wish at the line as well, he leads Dallas with 28 Pts, 10 Reb despite 7-20 shooting from the floor, it was going 13-13 on free throws that helped. Jason Terry leads the bench with 10 Pts but with two early fouls in the first half kept him quiet all night long and threw him off. The Mavs shoot 10-19 from downtown and kill the Blazers, 6 from Kidd, one from Nowitzki and two each from Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson.

LaMarcus Aldridge had himself a good game and shouldn’t be the one to blame, neither Andre Miller. Aldridge pours out 27 Pts and 6 Reb on 12-20 shooting (and ten million alley oop dunks tonight). He kept Nowitzki out of the game early but once the fourth quarter started it was all over. Miller, aka Iron Man, tried all his might to keep Portland in shouting distance all night long, but if Miller is scoring like he is, which is great by the way, it means no one else is. He finishes with 18 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast and 1 Stl. What would this game be like without the actions of Marcus Camby? He had one of his best performances since coming back from knee surgery and was just a beast on the boards; 18 Reb and 4 Pts is just what you want to see. Nic Batum was the only other Blazer in double figures and came alive in the second half, with 14 Pts and 4 Ast. Portland shoot 46% from the floor which isn’t too surprising. They win the rebound battle 40-39, out-assist Dallas 22-14, collect 7 steals and oh, 46 points in the paint compared to 18 by Dallas, and they still lose.


Portland will not win this series with the only offensive coming from LA and Miller. Wesley Matthews gets into early foul trouble and is out for most of the game. Gerald Wallace goes scoreless throughout the first half but does better in the second. Brandon Roy did more harm than good while on the floor as did Rudy Fernandez. Portland have another awful night from distance just 2-16 from the field in where Matthews and Batum are needed greatly. Everyone gets hit with tons of fouls and turn the ball over 13 times. I don’t know why Roy was in the ball game as long as he was, he just doesn’t have that explosiveness to get inside the paint anymore and once he looked to attack, he would just kick it out for a missed three or turn it over trying to get the foul.

I know it’s not right to criticize the referees on the outcome of this game or any other but there were very questionable calls late in the game. Gerald Wallace gets his fifth foul on what was called he pushed Nowitzki while he’s grabbing a rebound. Thing though was Wallace wasn’t even touching Nowitzki, not only that, every time Nowitzki met a Blazer in the paint, he automatically gets a call and goes to the line. Ken Mauer, David Jones and Mike Callahan really disappointed me tonight.


Tough to swallow tonight but the beauty of a seven game series is to make some changes and think about how we would’ve done better. Aldridge, Miller and Camby should be left off the hook while the others need to do some thinking. It’s no surprise that Nowitzki owned the fourth quarter as he always does and Jason Kidd shooting like he did was something we didn’t expect at all. Portland will look to even the series 1-1 on Tuesday in Dallas for Game 2 and then it’s back to the Rose Garden later in the week.

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