- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – The Mavericks were bullied by the Portland Trail Blazers in a 127-111 loss Saturday night.
How it happened: It was easy pickings for Portland, which lit up the Mavs with a steady diet of dunks, layups and open 3-pointers.
The Blazers scored at least 33 points in each of the first three quarters, making the fourth quarter a mostly meaningless exhibition of garbage time. All five Portland starters scored in double figures by the end of the third quarter.
After three quarters, the Blazers were shooting 55.9 percent from the floor and had advantages of 54-22 in points in the paint and 45-23 in rebounds. Portland’s biggest lead was 36 points.
The Mavs went on a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter, but that didn't even cut the deficit in half. The Blazers eventually put their starters back in when the Mavs pulled within 15 with a little more than four minutes to play. The Mavs never got closer than 14 down.
The Mavs weren’t nearly good enough offensively to make up for their awful defense. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 18 points in 22 minutes, but he was only 6-of-17 from the floor. Monta Ellis (15 points, 6-of-12) was the only other Mavs starter to score in double figures.
What it means: For the second time in the last two weeks, Dallas was dominated in a potential playoff preview. This was arguably even worse than being blown out by 22 points in San Antonio. Portland (31-9) pulled even with San Antonio at the top of the Western Conference standings. The Mavs are still in seventh place after dropping to 24-18, a half game ahead of the Phoenix Suns in the standings.
Play of the game: A pretty good hint that the Mavs weren’t dialed in defensively was dropped a few minutes into the game when Batum grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled uncontested up the right side of the court and threw down an easy dunk in transition. Batum had 15 of the Blazers’ 35 points in the first quarter, including a few dunks.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 1-7 when they allow the opponent to score at least 60 points in the first half. That includes losses this week in which the Clippers scored 72 points and the Blazers scored 71 points by halftime.