The Mavericks started the game being physical, and managed to hold Portland scoreless for the first four minutes. This would have seemed much more impressive if the Mavs had scored more than five points during that span. Dallas then lost the lead for a bit thanks to a few lazy turnovers, but threes from DeShawn Stevenson, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki put them back in front. The score got stuck at 14-11 for what seemed like the second half of the first quarter. With under a minute, little Jose Barea weaved to the basket and gave the Mavericks their largest lead since that first run, and the period ended 16-11. Yipes.
In the second quarter, the Blazers couldn’t seem to get their offense going any better. They were committing offensive fouls and unable to complete points after turnovers. Dallas stepped up their defense to another level, physically, not letting Portland get any easy baskets and making them earn their points from the line. Dirk found his shot (one-legged fadeaway) and Kidd picked up his third foul. LaMarcus Aldridge got frustrated and got called for a technical foul when he tangled with Tyson Chandler. To his credit, Chandler just walked away. He did, however, get a T called as well. The Mavs led by as many as 10, but Portland stormed back at the end of the half to bring it to within two.
Early in the third quarter, Kidd picked up his fourth foul, but he stayed on the floor. The Mavericks slowly climbed away by finally getting to the free throw line… for the first time in the game. Yeah, you read that right. Shawn Marion emerged early in the second half, sparking a 15-4 Mavs run. Joining him as the quarter dragged on was the big German, who was knocking down shots all over the court and expanding the lead to what might be referred to as comfortable. Part of that was because Portland did not make a basket from the floor until 1:30 left in the quarter. The lead ballooned to as many as 23 but Portland climbed to within 18 points as the quarter ended.
The final quarter looked better for Portland right from the get go when Gerald Wallace capitalized on a Jason Terry turnover. Both teams were absolutely rolling to start, trading big basket for big basket. The defense that had been so strong on both ends suddenly disappeared as the scores climbed. The Blazers went on a 16-6 run that began with the Mav’s largest lead at the end of the third quarter. Now I’m not one to complain about referees, but I really thought there were some questionable calls made on Tyson Chandler who picked up his 5th with around seven minutes to play. His offense was less aggressive as a result.
Brandon Roy was the x-factor tonight for the Blazers, absolutely going off in the fourth and keeping the team within striking distance. He eventually hit a three pointer, and Shawn Marion fouled him giving the Blazers the four-point play to tie the game. From there, Roy gave the Blazers the lead after Dallas *allegedly* knocked the ball out of bounds. Then Kidd missed a three with 27 seconds left. The Blazers missed on their end and Jason Terry missed a three as time expired. The Blazers went on a 43-18 run to end that game. Epic collapse by the Mavericks as they got Roy'd.
Game five will be Monday at Dallas at 7:30pm CT. The series is tied 2-2, so this game is pretty much the most important game they will ever play.