Image Credit: @MavsPR Twitter
On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Portland Trailblazers in the first of a two game road series. The Mavericks once again continue their tough start to the second half of the season by playing yet another tough western conference team. The Mavericks are looking to secure yet another season series if they can take care of business against the Trailblazers.
On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Los Angeles Clippers to determine the winner of the season series on St. Patrick’s Day. The Mavericks started this game with a much better start than the previous matchup by taking good shots on offense. The Clippers tried to cleanup their struggles but couldn’t as they would trail 56-51 at halftime. The second half would have the Mavericks written all over it as they started to ran away with it and ultimately they did as they were able to secure a 105-89 victory to clinch the season series. Luka Doncic had arguably the best game of the season as he finished with 42 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis had a quiet 11 points and 13 rebounds to secure another double-double. With the win the Mavericks record improved to 21-18 on the season, as they now within reach of the fourth seed in the western conference. The Mavericks also clinched the season series against the Clippers that would be crucial in case these two teams do end up with the same record at the end of the season.
The Trailblazers are coming into this game by going 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 101-93 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday to see their record improve to 24-16 on the season. The Trailblazers are currently the sixth seed in the western conference as they look to secure a top five seed in time for the playoffs. This team is led by the always dangerous Damian Lillard as they look to keep their momentum going. Anytime, you play this team, you always have to check your watch to make sure it doesn’t say “Dame Time”, if it does than you’re screwed.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks lost their last meeting with the Trailblazers 121-118 in a close game as it came down to the final minutes. The Mavericks previously _tied their regular season series last season 2-2 against the Portland Trailblazers. Overall, the Trailblazers hold the all-time series with a record of 87-75.
The Mavericks started this game without key players as Dorian Finney-Smith and Tyrell Terry were ruled out due to personal reasons, while Willie Cauley-Stein and James Johnson were out due to health and safety protocols. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Richardson, Hardaway Jr, Kleber and Porzingis as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Derrick Jones Jr as he nailed a three pointer for the Trailblazers to get this game underway. The Mavericks wouldn’t get their first points until the 11:24 mark as Maxi Kleber answered with a three pointer of his own to tie the game at 3-3. The Mavericks would have their first lead of the game as Luka Doncic nailed his signature “step back” for a three pointer with 9:42 left in the quarter to take a 6-5 lead. The three pointers started to fall for the Mavericks as Luka Doncic nailed another “step-back” three pointer with 9:11 left in the quarter to extend their lead to 9-5. The Mavericks looked extremely confident with their offense as they saw the ball go in the hoop. The Trailblazers would come all the way back to retake the lead as Damian Lillard nailed a layup with 7:23 left in the quarter to take a 13-11 lead. The Trailblazers would call a timeout with 6:39 left in the quarter with a 16-14 lead as this game started to go back-and-forth. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense got things going as they were able to make five of their first nine attempts taken thus far. The Trailblazers took a little bit more time to find their groove but ultimately got their offense going as they made six of their first thirteen attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Trailblazers turned to Damian Lillard as he was able to convert on a three pointer to extend their lead to 19-14 with 6:23 left in the quarter. The scoring drought was finally ended for the Mavericks as Josh Richardson nailed a driving layup with 5:57 left in the quarter to come within 21-16 of the Trailblazers. The Mavericks had trouble finding their rhythm as they couldn’t buy a shot until Tim Hardaway Jr nailed a three pointer with 4:35 left in the quarter to come within 26-21 of the Trailblazers. The Mavericks were able to generate enough momentum to come all the way back to come within two points of the Trailblazers, as Wes Iwundu nailed a fast break dunk with 2:26 left in the quarter that forced the Trailblazers to call a timeout. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Trailblazers barely held onto their lead as they took a 37-33 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Damian Lillard as he scored 13 points for the Trailblazers. The Mavericks were led by Maxi Kleber as he scored 8 points. Both teams got off to good starts as the defense was nowhere near to be found in the first quarter. The Mavericks ended the quarter by shooting 60% on 12-of-20 shooting from the field but it was the turnovers that costed them as they turned the ball four times.
The second quarter would begin by having Trey Burke nail a three pointer for the Mavericks with 11:11 left to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks reclaimed the lead as Luka Doncic made Carmelo Anthony look silly with the “up and under” move with 10:31 left in the quarter to take a 38-37 lead. The Trailblazers wouldn’t get their first points until the 10:15 mark as CJ McCollum nailed a three pointer to reclaim the lead right back for the Trailblazers at 40-38. The game found its way to be tied again as Luka Doncic nailed two free-throws with 7:52 left in the quarter to tie the game at 44-44. OH MY GOODNESS, a spectacular pass by Luka Doncic would occur as he did a “no look” behind the head pass to Tim Hardaway Jr that resulted in a three pointer with 7:14 left in the quarter to tie the game at 47-47. WHAT A SPECTACULAR PASS BY LUKA DONCIC as he looked like he had eyes on the back of his head to find Tim Hardaway Jr for a three pointer. The Trailblazers would retake the lead by having Carmelo Anthony make a free-throw to give him 27,001 points in his career but most importantly a 48-47 Trailblazers lead with 6:16 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:26 left in the quarter as the Trailblazers started to pull away from the Mavericks. Prior to this timeout, the Trailblazers were on a 5-0 run that helped extend their lead 52-47. The Mavericks offense started to fadeaway as they had multiple empty possessions that spelled trouble for them. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to convert on a floating jump shot, however he argued with the Officials that resulted in a technical foul as he thought there should’ve been a foul with 4:10 left in the quarter. Damian Lillard would nail the technical free-throw to extend their lead to 54-49, Kristaps Porzingis would also be called for a technical foul earlier in the quarter to result in two Mavericks with technical fouls. The Mavericks created enough spark on offense to come within two points of the Trailblazers on a Luka Doncic pull-up three pointer with 2:34 left in the quarter to come within 58-56 of the Trailblazers. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Trailblazers once again barley held onto their lead as they took a 64-60 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard as they both scored 22 points for their respective teams. So much offense and very few defense was played in the first half in an epic battle between these two teams. The Mavericks ended the first half by shooting 57.9% on 22-of-38 shooting from the field but it was their struggles with protecting the ball that costed them the lead. If the Mavericks want to have any chance of coming out with a win, then they certainly need to pickup the effort on defense in the second half to stop the high flying Trailblazers offense.
Coming out of the half, the Trailblazers were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Robert Covington nail a three pointer to extend their lead to 67-60 and get this quarter underway. Maxi Kleber was able to score the first points for the Mavericks as he answered with a three pointer of his own with 11:27 left in the quarter to come within 67-63 of the Trailblazers. Kristaps Porzingis would get his 7th point in the game as he nailed a three pointer for the Mavericks with 9:56 left in the quarter to come within 72-68 of the Trailblazers. The Mavericks absolutely needed to get Kristaps Porzingis going on offense if they want to climb back in the game, otherwise it would belong to the Trailblazers as they had the momentum thus far. ANOTHER FANTASTIC PASS BY LUKA DONCIC as he found Maxi Kleber on a behind-the-back pass (while going out of bounds) for a wide open three pointer and was able to knock it down with 8:39 left in the quarter to come within 75-73 of the Trailblazers. The Mavericks grabbed the lead on a Tim Hardaway Jr three pointer but the Trailblazers regained the lead right back after Enes Kanter nailed a layup to jump out in front 77-76 with 7:57 left in the quarter. The Trailblazers would call a timeout with 6:25 left in the quarter while they maintained a 82-80 lead as the Mavericks would simply not go away. Prior to this timeout, the Trailblazers were on a 7-4 run to maintain possession of the lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Trailblazers turned to Damian Lillard but would lose the ball that resulted in a Tim Hardaway fast break slam dunk to tie the game at 82-82 with 6:03 left in the quarter. Both teams would exchange baskets to keep this game tied that forced Rick Carlisle to call a timeout with 3:41 left in the quarter as he wanted to get Luka Doncic back in the game for the reminder of the quarter. Prior to this timeout, both teams were copying each other by answering each other’s bucket to keep this game tied at 86-86. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Wes Iwundu as he drew a foul to go to the free-throw line with 3:19 left in the quarter, that resulted in two points as he made both of them to take a 88-86 lead. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks held onto their lead to take a 98-93 lead into the fourth quarter as they finally ended a quarter with a lead. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 32 points for the Mavericks. The Trailblazers were led by Damian Lillard as he scored 27 points. The Mavericks finished the quarter strong to grab a lead into the final quarter of the game. The Mavericks were shooting 59.3% on 35-of-59 shooting from the field through three quarters of play, including 51.6% on 16-of-31 shooting from behind the arc.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Trey Burke nail a three pointer for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Trailblazers weren’t able to get their first points until the 10:41 mark by having Gary Trent Jr nail a three pointer to come within 101-96 of the Mavericks. Luka Doncic would nail a pull-up jump shot to give him 34 points in the game thus far but most importantly a 105-98 Mavericks lead with 9:20 left in the game. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout 8:22 left in the game as the Trailblazers started to generate a comeback by shrinking the lead to 105-101. Prior to this timeout, both teams made three of their first six attempts to begin the quarter. The Mavericks would need to play excellent defense for the reminder of the game to get the crucial win. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr as he soared to the rim for an easy two points while the shot clock was expiring to extend their lead to 107-101 with 8:04 left in the game. The Trailblazers made it a three point game as CJ McCollum drilled a three pointer with 7:21 left in the game to come within 107-104 of the Mavericks. An empty possession by the Mavericks would result the Trailblazers cuz the lead to one point as Enes Kanter nailed a layup with 6:18 left in the game to come within 107-106 of the Mavericks. The Mavericks were able to good quality possessions on offense that resulted in extending their lead to 110-106 after Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer with 5:59 left in the game. The Trailblazers, once again, came back to make it a one point game after Rodney Hood drilled a three pointer that forced Rick Carlisle to call a timeout with 4:26 left in the game while holding a 110-109 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Trailblazers turned on the afterburners as they were able to create enough offense to stay in the game. The game looked like it was going to be another nail bitter as whoever hold the ball in the final seconds would win the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Maxi Kleber but couldn’t convert as he lost the ball that would result in the Trailblazers taking a 111-110 lead after a Carmelo Anthony fast break dunk with 4:04 left in the game. The Trailblazers extended their lead to 113-110 after Damian Lillard nailed a step-back jump shot with 3:24 left in the game. It must be that time of the game again as the Mavericks were approaching “Dame Time”. The Trailblazers took a timeout with 3:02 left in the game, otherwise they would lose it while maintaining a three point lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Trailblazers turned to Damian Lillard as he converted on a jump shot to extend their lead to 115-110 with 2:51 left in the game. The Mavericks were able to make it a three point game after Luka Doncic nailed a driving layup with 2:36 left in the game to come within 115-112 of the Trailblazers. With a desperate need of a stop on defense, the Mavericks couldn’t get it as CJ McCollum drilled a three pointer to extend their lead to 118-112, that forced Rick Carlisle to call a timeout timeout with 1:17 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he nailed a crucial driving layup with 1:11 left in game to come within 118-114 of the Trailblazers. The game would ultimately be sealed after Robert Covington drilled a three pointer to put this game away for good as the Trailblazers extended their lead to 121-114 with 33.6 seconds left in the game.
This team looked like they didn’t wanna play any type of defense in this game as the first half was high-flying and electric that resulted in the Trailblazers taking a 64-60 lead at halftime. These two teams were determined to outshoot the other as they threw their defense out the window. This was yet another epic game between these two teams as they’re accustomed to giving us some classic games throughout the years.
In the end, it was the Portland Trailblazers defeating the Dallas Mavericks 125-119. The Mavericks record would drop to 21-19 on the season as they now have lost two of their last three games. Luka Doncic finished the game with 38 points, 8 assists and 9 rebounds as that wasn’t enough for a win. Kristaps Porzingis struggled massively as he finished with just 11 points. The Trailblazers were led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as they finished with 63 points combined. The Mavericks had to have this one to even the season series but couldn’t get it done as the Trailblazers caught fire in the final minutes of the game. Despite being shorthanded in the game, the Mavericks were able to find a way to compete hard but unfortunately wasn’t enough for a win.
The Mavericks will again stay in Portland to face the Trailblazers for the final time of the season on Sunday still seeking their first win against the Trailblazers.