How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks never trailed against the Portland Trail Blazers. It still wasn’t pretty in Portland.
The Mavs didn’t exactly throw a knockout punch against a poor team playing without All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery. The Mavs played a sloppy, turnover-plagued fourth quarter that allowed the Blazers to rally, mounting a 12-0 run to make the visitors sweat down the stretch.
But the Mavs survived for their third straight win since ridding their locker room of Lamar Odom.
The Mavs opened the game with a 9-0 run and never relinquished the lead at the Rose Garden. Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ lone All-Star, scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first quarter while the Mavs established a 14-point lead. Nowitzki finished with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Delonte West ran the show with Jason Kidd resting and Rodrigue Beaubois suffering a strained right calf in the second half. West had 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting, seven assists and six rebounds while logging 44 minutes. The blemish on West’s impressive all-around performance was his six turnovers.
Shawn Marion had 17 points and 14 rebounds, one board shy of his season high.
Brandan Wright, who played the majority of the minutes at center, had 13 points and eight rebounds. He also broke up an alley-oop attempt to J.J. Hickson that would have cut the Mavs’ lead to a bucket with a little less than a minute ago.
What it means: The Mavs are in sole possession of sixth place in the West by a relatively comfortable margin. They are up a game and a half on the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets -- both Friday night losers -- and own the tiebreakers over both teams.
Bold play of the game: West drove down the middle and threw down a two-hand dunk in the final minute of the first half, sending an excruciating bolt of pain up his surgically repaired right ring finger. That play was part of an 11-2 run for the Mavs to finish the first half, a fine response to the Trail Blazers slicing the lead to single digits.
Stat of the night: Marion recorded his third double-double in four games and his fourth consecutive double-digit rebounding game. Marion, the shortest player in the league leading his team in rebounding, has averaged 12.8 boards per game in that span.