Rapid Reaction: Trail Blazers 99, Mavs 97 (OT)
How it happened: The Mavs managed to blow a big lead against a bad road team and couldn’t make up for it in crunch time.
LaMarcus Aldridge, the first-time All-Star from nearby Seagoville, finished off his hometown team at the overtime buzzer. Aldridge hit a stepback 16-footer over Brendan Haywood to seal the Mavs’ fate in a game that the Dallas truly deserved to lose.
Dallas led by as many as 15 in the first half, but that was all gone and then some after the Mavs’ miserable third quarter. Portland outscored the Mavs by a 30-10 margin in the frame, closing the quarter with a 16-0 run fueled by point guard Raymond Felton's 12-point scoring spree.
The Mavs rallied in the fourth quarter, sparked by an impromptu Brandan Wright dunk show, but couldn’t finish the job in regulation. The Mavs didn’t lead again the rest of regulation after Rodrigue Beaubois was whistled for a foul -- much to the chagrin of Mark Cuban –- to send Jamal Crawford to the line for three free points with 6:03 remaining.
Felton finished with a season-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting, taking advantage of gimpy Delonte West and lackadaisical Beaubois.
Aldridge took over for the Trail Blazers in overtime, when he had six of his 25 points.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but he cooled off considerably after a red-hot start. He had 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first seven minutes and was 5-of-12 from the floor the rest of the night. He also had the ball slip out of his hand on an outlet pass that should have resulted in a breakaway dunk for Shawn Marion that would have given the Mavs the lead in the final minute of OT.
What it means: This will go down as one of the Mavs’ worst home losses of the season. It could be extremely costly when it comes to playoff seeding. The Mavs are sixth in the West standings, a game behind the Grizzlies, as they head to Memphis for a critical game that is the butt end of a back-to-back for both teams. The winner of Saturday night’s game gets the tiebreaker in the Dallas-Memphis season series.
Bold play of the game: It's gotta be Aldridge's buzzer-beater ... But Brandan Wright’s right-to-left windmill off an alley-oop in the second quarter might have been more spectacular, and so was his soaring slam over Luke Babbitt. That play turned the AAC from dead to deafening, sparking an 11-0 run that gave the Mavs the lead and life again after their miserable third quarter. Roddy Beaubois attacked the paint and made a perfectly timed feed in transition to the Human Exclamation Point, who took off from the left block and leaped over a ground-bound Babbitt before throwing it down hard with his left hand.
Stat of the night: Felton, who entered the night averaging 10.8 points per game this season, outscored the Mavs in the third quarter by a 16-10 margin. Felton had 12 points in the final 2:57 of the frame.
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