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3 takeaways from Portland Trail Blazer pummeling of the Dallas Mavericks, 126-118

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 126-118 Wednesday night. Damian Lillard scored 33 points and dished out 12 assists in just thirty minutes of action to lead Portland. Luka Doncic contrubuted 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists in defeat for the Mavericks. Dallas is now 28-43 with eleven games remaining.

Neither team could score through the first part of the opening frame, scoring just 18 total points between the squads during the first six minutes of action. Portland came alive late to double up the Mavericks at one point before the lid came off for Dallas. The Blazers took a 26-17 lead into the second frame. Dallas manages just one assist the entire quarter.

Things started to look up for Dallas in quarter number two and they even took a brief lead before Portland realized the Mavericks are an idea of a team more than anything else. The Blazers closed the quarter on a 23-8 run and took a commanding 65-52 lead into the half.

The third quarter was dominated by my parents calling me at 11pm east coast time, so while I watched the game I’m not entirely sure what happened. The Blazers continued to score more points than Dallas though and the 13 point lead extended all the way to 18 before the game headed into the final frame.

Dallas ended up making the final score respectable and Portland fans got to send Dirk Nowitzki off with a standing ovation. The Mavericks fell 118-126. They play again tomorrow night in Sacramento against the woebegon Kings.

A few closing thoughts before heading off to bed:

We need to talk about the shot of Tim Hardaway Jr.

Over the last few months I’ve consumed the following popular culture: the entire Bioshock video game series, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Russian Doll on Netflix. If you’re familar with any of these pieces of art, you’ll know that they each rely on the concept of the multiverse as a plot point. From Wikipedia:

The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes including the universe in which we live. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called “parallel universes”, “other universes”, or “alternate universes”.

After weeks of serious analysis I have finally reached a conclusion: Tim Hardaway Jr. draws his jumpshot from the multiverse. Each time he rises to shoot, be it off the dribble or upon a catch and release following a kick out, the form is wildly different. There is no other explanation. Hardaway is drawing from infinite universes and thus his shot will look different every time. There is no way to fix this.

Note that he actually shot 5-10 from the field this evening but when you check his game log, you know that I’m right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The Mavericks do not start a single good defensive player these days

All are negative defensive players. Therefore, unless they are shooting the lights out, the Mavericks are going to lose nearly every game for the rest of the season.

Dallas should consider starting Dorian Finney-Smith over someone, just to make it appear like they care a little bit on defense. Alas.

The off-season priorities are crystallizing for Dallas

By now it’s clear the Mavericks need two things: rebounding and another person to run the offense. On the first issue, it’s painfully obvious when Portland bullies Dallas on the boards to the tune of 13 more rebounds. The second issue might be muddier with how well Brunson has played, yet he still strikes me as a score first kind of player. The Mavericks should have good chances to improve at both spots.