PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Check the final score. Read over Mavs Moneyball's recap. Find a few statistical nuggets in the box score, post a few comments below, maybe even go over to see what Blazer's Edge','http://www.blazersedge.com/'); return false;">Blazer's Edge has to say about it. Then it's time to move on. I can assure you the Mavericks are.
There is no shame in losing this game to Portland, in Portland, especially if the Mavericks can take care of business in Game 4. It would have been simply delightful to sweep Portland, but realistically, the best that should have been hoped for was one road win in the first two. The Mavericks have the ability to do just that.
But let's not get too far away from this game. What exactly went wrong? Well, there's a lot of reasons, some expected, others surprising, and maybe even one or two that shocked people.
Despite Rich Carlisle preaching for the exact opposite, the Blazers got off to a blazing hot start. They were up 10-2 on the Mavericks within a few minutes. As the quarter wore on, it was Wesley Matthews hitting 6/6 from the field, including four threes, for 16 points who stepped it up. Only 10 first quarter points by Jason Terry kept the Mavericks close.
In the second half, turnovers began to accumulate, and the half would end with the Mavericks shooting 60%, but trailing by one because of 8 turnovers.
The Blazers won an up and down 3rd quarter by a point. The 4th led to more up and down play, but the Mavericks kept falling just shy of being able to make that run that would retake the lead and allow them to steal a victory away from Portland on the road.
-Terry stepped up big time tonight, though unfortunately in a losing effort. He scored 29, ignited by some strong drives to the basket to score in the paint and get free throws. After getting some inside shots to go down, he was able to move outside and rain threes. I'd like more of that, please.
-Neither Kidd nor Peja could ever establish any rhythm with their long balls. The shooting was a lesser issue to several mind-boggling turnovers by Jason Kidd, and poor defense (what's new?) for Peja.
-Dirk had 25 and 9 on 10/21 shooting, and added in great defense all night long. He still has not had a game where every good look he got went down, and missed a couple tonight that even Dirk would say are basically layups for him, but he's coming up big when it matters, and has really changed the momentum at times with huge and-1's. Superstar.
-Chandler played fantastic when he was on the court, but fouls wrecked his night. A couple were debatable, but he was the one who put him in that position. He's going to have to keep moderating his aggressiveness and his fouls, because the Mavericks need him.
-I knew Roy would have a breakout game eventually, but the chances of that repeating is now much less likely. On the same note, Wesley Matthews was due to break out, but it is doubtful he ever gets on that kind of role again, where every shot he puts up does not even graze rim.
Game 4 is at 4:00 PM Central on TNT. The Mavericks will look to put Portland in a huge hole early, and hopefully get some rest for their veterans, with a win.