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Friday, April 29, 2011
This time Mavs make the plays that count

By Jeff Caplan

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Mavericks' 17-point lead with 1:25 to go in the third quarter was down to 86-85 with 5:28 left in the game. What would transpire in those final minutes of Thursday's Game 6 would either send the Mavs on to the second round or set them up for another round of well-earned bashing.

With their 23-point collapse in Game 4 still fresh, Dallas went on an 11-4 run to put the game away, getting four huge baskets down the stretch. Jason Kidd started it with a corner 3-pointer to push the lead back up to four, at 89-85. He came right back and stripped LaMarcus Aldridge in the paint and got the ball to Jason Terry, who buried a jumper for a 91-85 lead with 4:04 to go.

Shawn Marion then went to work on Brandon Roy, methodically backing him down in the paint, then turning and flipping it in from five feet for a 93-87 advantage with 2:13 to go.

After the Blazers cut the deficit to four, it was back to Terry. He put a move on Gerald Wallace, got free and pulled up for a 14-footer that went down for a 95-89 margin with 1:42 left.

Portland was left to foul the rest of the way, and Dirk Nowitzki salted it away with eight consecutive free throws.

"The Jason Kidd 3 really to me was the big shot of the game," Nowitzki said. "I thought everybody contributed in a nice way tonight for a big road win."

Nowitzki contributed 14 points in the fourth quarter, but one of his bigger plays might have been a block on Nicolas Batum under the basket with about 10 minutes to play. J.J. Barea contributed a runner and a big 3-pointer to extend the lead to nine as the teams traded buckets during a wild stretch of the fourth quarter.

"The block was a big play there when they had a little momentum, but we all -- at some point in the fourth quarter -- somebody came up with a big play for us," Nowitzki said. "That's what you have to do to win a tough game on the road. Everybody at some point has a big block or just a big box out or a big bucket on the other end."