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Mavericks Lose to Trail Blazers, 104-101

The Dallas Mavericks might be in the midst of a late-season slump as they suffered a 104-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night in the Rose Garden. The Mavericks have now lost four of their last six games. The loss also marked their fourth consecutive defeat to a potential playoff opponent in the last 10 days (Memphis, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Portland). Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to tie the game, but he missed a three-point attempt from the corner on their last possession of the game. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points in the game, but Brandon Roy emerged as the star for Portland by scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half. The 21 points marked the most points the guard has scored since Dec. 10, 2010. Double-knee surgery forced Roy to miss a significant period of time for the Trail Blazers before returning after the All-Star Break.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 28 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Rodrigue Beaubois had a nice bounce-back performance from the Los Angeles Lakers game as he scored a season-high 16 points. Shawn Marion (18), Jason Terry (14) and Tyson Chandler (12) made up the rest of the Mavericks to score in double figures. The Mavs are now 31-6 when at least five players score in double figures. The Mavericks are now 36-4 (.900) when they reach the century mark this season (compared to 11-16 when they score under 100 points). 

Leading up to the game, Dallas had some built up some momentum over Portland as the Mavericks had won 21 of the last 26 match-ups with the Trail Blazers. Before the loss on Tuesday night, Dallas had taken the last 3-of-4 in Portland, but has struggled overall on the road against the Trail Blazers. The Mavericks hold an all-time record of just 18-45 in Portland. With the loss, Dallas fell to 10-6 on the first night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks were 15-5 in the first night of a back-to-back last season.

This could be a potential first round preview as the Mavericks fell to the No. 3 seed and the Trail Blazers moved up to the No. 6 seed. It remains to be seen whether or not the Mavericks will have a chance to regain the No. 2 seed over the Los Angeles Lakers. Either way, the Mavericks will need to crank up their defensive intensity and work on protecting the ball over the last 15 games.

Did THAT Just Happen?!

- Defense was clearly optional in the first quarter of the game and the Mavericks took advantage of it with hot scoring performance out of the gate.Dallas shot 74% from the field in the opening quarter. Clearly, it was not a case of the shots not falling for the Mavericks as they shot a high percentage from the field throughout the game. Dallas never really built a significant lead on the Portland based on the fact the Mavs' defense was suspect and they allowed numerous second-chance opportunities.

- Dirk Nowitzki had a huge game in his last appearance in the Rose Garden. Nowitzki went off by scoring 40 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the 83-77 victory over the Trail Blazers on April 9, 2010. He also did some major damage from the free throw line as he went a perfect 17-17 from the charity stripe. On Tuesday night, Nowitzki was shooting at a torrid pace and finished the game with 28 points and 11 rebounds. The Mavericks are 10-2 when Nowitzki posts a double-double. There was a scary moment at the halfway point of the second quarter where Nowitzki injured his left shoulder going for a defensive rebound. He went to the locker room but returned after getting the shoulder looked at. Nowitzki got hit again late in the fourth quarter by Marcus Camby and grabbed his left shoulder. It does not appear that the injury will force Nowitzki to miss any game time going forward.

- After a 1-7 shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers, Rodrigue Beaubois started the game against Portland with aggression and he scored eight points in the opening quarter. At the 3:35 mark of the second quarter, the first glimpse of the three-guard lineup between Beaubois, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry emerged. It was a short stretch of time together, so it really did not lead to a definitive result on how it worked out. Beaubois finished the game with season-high 16 points. That should be a comforting sign for the guard as the team goes to play Golden State. If you do not remember, Beaubois scored a career-high 40 points against the Warriors on Mar. 27, 2010.

- There was a rare four-point play in the third quarter. Tyson Chandler committed a shooting foul on LaMarcus Aldridge with 5:20 left in the quarter. Chandler was upset with the foul called and took a swipe at the ball and was called for a technical foul, Andre Miller hit the technical free throw. Aldridge split the free throws, but Nicolas Batum  tipped the ball back in. That possession made the score 71-68.

- Brendan Haywood was a late scratch due to lower back stiffness. It was the first game of the year he missed due to injury. Haywood did not play in four games earlier in the season due to the coach's decision. He also missed the game on Nov. 26 against the San Antonio Spurs due to a one-game suspension. Tyson Chandler was plagued with foul trouble while guarding LaMarcus Aldridge, but finished the game with 12 points in 32 minutes of action.

- Gerald Wallace received his first start as a member of the Trail Blazers. Portland moved LaMarcus Aldridge to the starting center position and moved Marcus Camby to the bench. It was a move made to boost their offensive productivity.


Box Score Revelations

- The Mavericks started the game a perfect 11-11 from the field. The first miss did not come until the 3:25 mark of the opening quarter when Brian Cardinal missed a three-point basket from the corner position. They finished the game shooting 59.7%, the highest shooting percentage in a loss since Mar. 15, 1991.

- The ball movement continued to be effective for the Mavericks as they finished the game with 30 assists on 40 made baskets. Jason Kidd had a game-high 14 assists in the loss. The point guard added one point and five rebounds. His 14 assists are the most of his career when scoring 1 or fewer points. Kidd went 0-1 from the field and has now gone 4-18 from the field in his last four games.

- Portland came into the game ranking third in the league in offensive rebounds by getting 12.2 offensive rebounds/game. They also ranked eighth in the league in second-chance points by scoring 13.8 second-chance points/game. The Trail Blazers finished the game with 15 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points. The Mavericks bench struggled in a big way in terms of rebounding. JJ Barea and DeShawn Stevenson were the only two Mavericks off the bench that grabbed rebounds. They combined for five rebounds.

- Speaking of the bench, the Mavericks bench scored 26 points and lost the battle of the benches as the Trail Blazers bench scored 41 points. Heading into the game against the Trail Blazers, the Mavericks’ bench was averaging 38 points per game over their last three games, after they averaged 53.7 points per game in the previous 13 contests. Shawn Marion's insertion into the starting lineup plays a major factor in the reduction in bench productivity. Marion finished the game with 18 points.

- The Mavericks had a case of the butterfingers in the third quarter as they had five turnovers. The Mavericks and 71-63 lead, but the turnovers really killed their momentum. The Mavericks had four turnovers in the fourth quarter. They finished the game with 15 turnovers.


Tweetings From the Mavs Universe

- "Brian Cardinal, the Mavericks' Bonner."


- "Always amused by DeShawn's 'I just got shot by someone in the rafters' routine"


- "Brandon Roy looks like 2008-2009 Brandon Roy."


- "Law of averages is catching up to Mavs in close games. Awful execution on game's most important possession."



BG's Baller of the Game:

Baller status has been granted to Dirk Nowitzki. The big man had to deal with a nagging shoulder injury during the second half, but he shot 9-14 from the field and a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. The icing on the cake would have been drilling the three-point shot to force overtime. It was a tough loss for the Mavericks, but Nowitzki did everything he could to keep the Mavericks in the game.


Dallas will travel down to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks are 11-4 on the second half of a back-to-back. Dallas went 12-8 in the second game of a back-to-back last season. The Mavericks have won nine of the last 12 meetings with the Warriors. Golden State has taken five of the last eight match-ups in Oakland. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors, 105-100, at American Airlines Center on Dec. 7, 2010. Rodrigue Beaubois, who did not play in the first game against Golden State in 2010-11 (fractured left foot), had a career night in the final match-up with the Warriors last season (Mar. 27, 2010). The Dallas rookie went 9-of-11 from 3-point range en route to a career-high 40 points (15-22 from the field, 9-11 from long range and 1-1 from the free throw line). The nine 3-pointers marked the most by any Mavericks rookie in franchise history. The game on Wednesday against the Warriors will be the first of three games between the two teams in a span of 17 days. They will meet again on Mar. 20 and Apr. 2. The game between the Mavericks and the Warriors will tip off on Wednesday night at 9:30 pm CST.


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