How it happened: The Mavs managed to pull out a victory over a Western Conference contender after blowing a 30-point lead.
The Mavs ended up having to make a comeback down the stretch, trailing by six points with 4 minutes, 26 seconds to play. But Dallas finished the game with an 11-0 run that featured five points by backup point guard Devin Harris, including the go-ahead and-1 bucket with 24.2 seconds remaining.
The Mavs held their last 30-point lead with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter. The Trail Blazers took their first lead of the game with 2:52 remaining in the third, on a putback by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
The lead went back and forth several times, but Dallas avoided tying a dubious franchise record for the biggest lead blown in a loss. The Mavs also blew a 30-point edge in a Dec. 6, 2002, defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Mavs held the Blazers to 10 points in the first quarter -- the fewest allowed by Dallas in any quarter this season -- and 38 points in the first half. Portland nearly matched that in the third quarter, doubling the Mavs’ total with 36 points in the frame.
Aldridge had 18 points and nine rebounds in just that third quarter, finishing with 30 and 17. But he came up empty several times down the stretch after his alley-oop finish gave the Blazers their final points.
Dallas got 22 points from Dirk Nowitzki and 19 from Jose Calderon, who outscored Portland by himself in the first quarter, but Harris was the crunch-time hero. Harris had 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mavs pull out the kind of win that could salvage their season.
What it means: The Mavs halted their season-worst three-game losing streak with a heart-pounding win to remain a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for eighth place in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers fell into fifth place after dropping to 42-20.
Play of the game: With the score tied in the final minute, Harris fought for a defensive rebound in heavy traffic, brought the ball up the floor and drove to his left before being fouled by Damian Lillard and kissing the ball off the glass and in. The free throw gave the Mavs a 101-98 lead with 24.2 seconds remaining.
Stat of the night: According to ESPN Stats & Information, NBA teams that have trailed by at least 30 points are 0-84. In the past 15 seasons, teams that trailed by at least 30 in the first half are 0-142.
What's next: The Mavericks host the East-leading Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.