First of all I'd like to give a shootout to Brandon Roy. As much as he is probably hated right now among the Mavericks community there is something heartwarming about his performance last night. The injuries were one of the sadder stories in the NBA in recent years and as a basketball fan you honestly would have wished him a comeback like this. Not in this series though.
Anyway: The media got the story they wanted now and will feed off the devil they created by themselves: A Mavericks team folding like crazy in the playoffs. The erased deficit of 18 points in the fourth quarter is tied for the second highest in playoff history. The Mavs continue to climb the rankings in the wrong postseason categories. And while this will dictate todays stories about the game, the real problem is another: The Mavericks went to the wrong guys on the road trip in crucial game situations. Dirk Nowitzki owned the 4th quarters of the home games so far in this series but instead of continuing to do what made them successful they switched to Jason Terry as their premiere guy. And he showed what all the analysts have been preaching: He won't beat you. Dirk Nowitzki still got more touches than anybody in the 4th through both road games but Jason Terry who had only 1 FGA through the homestand, had 9 on the road while shooting 33%. To make it worse: In the Clutch Time of last nights game Dirk didn't took a single shot. That's how you lose games. Simple as that.
However: Dirk additionally seemed uninterested in taking a shot at times. He passed on some opportunities, but simply didn't get the ball in crunch time. For a team as experienced as the Mavericks this is inexcusable.
I think you can't put it all on their inability to get Dirk involved though. It more or less seemed like either Terry himself or even the team felt that he should be the closer. He had a terrific Game 3 and certainly was not a non-factor in the 4th yesterday. He hit a big basket to make it 80-70, for example. But still I thought it was too much Terry late in the game. Especially when you consider that the Mavs had a huge mismatch to their favor on the floor outside Dirk Nowitzki. The Portland Trail Blazers went small with 2:31 to go and the Mavs leading by 6. Brandon Roy was guarding Shawn Marion at that point. As brilliant as he was offensively there is no way he can guard Marion on a Post-Up. Marion had abused him all game long and actually made his bucket (82-78) when they finally decided to go to him. An easy one. Mavs should have stuck to that in my eyes at least one more possession. As I've mentioned here the Mavericks are still hesitant to trust anybody outside Dirk and Terry. And they once again paid the price.
Of course the collective fallout in the 4th was the main reason for this loss, but looking into the last 3 minutes of the game, the Mavs just decided to roll with the wrong guy.
Finally here are the 4th Quarter PERs for the whole series and the sortable 4th Quarter Stats for the road trip: