LaMarcus Aldridge nails game-winner in 99-97 overtime win over Mavs
Facing each other since a second-overtime loss in February to the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks (31-25), the Portland Trail Blazers (27-29) were still the huge underdog even as the Mavericks are half of the team that took them to their first championship in franchise history. Things would go Dallas’ way for much of the first half building a lead as big as 14 points. The Blazers would get much of their scoring from LaMarcus Aldridge and Raymond Felton but fought hard in the second half, Felton goes on a frenzy of scoring to ignite a 20-3 Portland run in the third quarter alone and eventually take the lead going into the final period.
The Mavs would respond quickly, baskets by Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry fuel a comeback run and the fourth quarter was a neck and neck race, eventually going into overtime as Terry has a chance to take the win on a long running floater but it’s too long and we head into overtime.
The Blazers would feed the ball back to their leaders in Aldridge and Felton as Dallas did the same with Nowitzki and Marion. Portland would strike first blood first on a fade jumper by Aldridge and Nowitzki would respond. Portland would grab a four-point lead but Dallas found a way to come back and tie, and the Blazers found themselves tied again at 97 with 3.7 seconds left. On the inbound play, Aldridge gets the ball and seems to lose it trying to get into position, he gets enough space between himself and Brendan Haywood and swifts a fadaway jumper at the buzzer and the Blazers stun the Mavericks with the 99-97 overtime win.
The two Blazers’ that really deserve the attention tonight was of course LaMarcus Aldridge and Raymond Felton. Aldridge, a native in the Dallas area, had his family in the stands and that game-winner must have felt amazing to hit with his mother watching. He clearly did not back down against the battle with Dirk Nowitzki and was the go-to man: 25 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast on 11-24 shooting and playing 44 minutes.
Raymond Felton knows he’s had a difficult relationship with Blazer fans this season and welcomes anyone to defy him and his current state of play, he actually did more damage when he was on the court and when he sat, the Portland offense took a hit. He collected 30 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl on 12-18 shooting and a hot 5-8 from three-point land. Easily one of the best performances of the season for Ray-Ray.
The Blazers will need to bounce back the next night against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday before heading back home. Look for the guys to get revenge on the Bucks who embarrassed them at the Rose Garden a few weeks ago.
photo courtesy of oregonlive.com/blazers