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News » Late Thursday game Blazers don't have answer for Mavericks


Late Thursday game Blazers don't have answer for Mavericks


Late Thursday game Blazers don't have answer for Mavericks
Late Thursday game Blazers

don't have

answer for

Mavericks

JASON QUICK

Every so often during an NBA season, there comes a time when a defeated team just has to tip its hat to the opponent. So it was Thursday night for the Trail Blazers, who played well, but were beaten 102-94 by a more active, physical and experienced team in the Dallas Mavericks.

It was a humbling defeat for the young Blazers (18-12) who dropped out of first place in the Northwest Division while also allowing Dallas (17-11) to leapfrog them in the Western Conference hierarchy. Portland held a 92-90 lead with 5:08 left in the game, but it never scored another basket, settling for two Travis Outlaw free throws while being outscored 12-2 down the wire.

"We have to give them credit - they brought it for 48 minutes," said Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who had 22 points, but went scoreless in the pivotal fourth quarter, missing all five of his shots. "We thought we were going to wear them down, but they ended up wearing us down."

It was a frustrating end to a festive Christmas night for a sellout Rose Garden crowd of 20,643, who watched the Blazers shoot 50 percent and complete several dazzling plays. But several of the Blazers used words such as "weird," or "funny" to describe the game, which was heavily officiated, creating many stoppages. In the third quarter, there were five technicals assessed --four on Dallas --including two to Dallas guard Josh Howard, who was ejected after scoring 17 points.

But really, the game turned on to two factors: Rebounding and execution, both of which Dallas excelled. The top rebounding team in the NBA, Dallas held a 42-32 advantage, which including 16 offensive rebounds. Four of the offensive rebounds were by guard Jose Barea, who is listed at 6-foot, but is really closer to 5-foot-10.

"The little guy would come in and get (a rebound) and it would be like, 'Who is guarding him?' " Roy said. "Coach said they outhustled us tonight and we can't argue that."

If the Blazers weren't running in circles trying to beat Barea to rebounds, they were scratching their heads trying to figure out the best pick-and-roll defense to implement. The Blazers have several strategies in defending Basketball's main play, but few of them worked Thursday as Jason Kidd amassed 10 assists and the unheralded Barea dished four --all in the fourth quarter.

"There was a little stretch there that whatever we did, they had an answer for it," said Steve Blake, who had 14 points, seven assists and four turnovers.

Early on, Dallas was carried by star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half. In the process, Nowitzki enticed Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge into three first-half fouls, limiting the Blazers' second leading scorer to zero shot attempts in the first half.

"Just being in foul trouble, you lose your rhythm," said Aldridge, who finished with 12 points and three rebounds.

Notes:

It was the third home loss in 13 games for the Blazers, who had won 13 consecutive games on Christmas. Sergio Rodriguez went 4 for 4 from the field and had a nifty backdoor assist to Rudy Fernandez, but played only 9:38, including just 2:05 of the second half. . . . Fernandez finished with 13 points, including a tip-in with 7.1 seconds left in the third that gave the Blazers an 80-77 lead entering the fourth.

Jason Quick: 503-221-4372;

jasonquick@news.oregonian.com

Read his Behind the Beat blog at

blog.oregonlive.com/

behindblazersbeat


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 29, 2008

 

 
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