No matter what kind of adversity Dallas has had to face this season, they’ve generally had an answer. Tuesday night’s home game against Portland was no different, as the Mavericks were missing two of their top three scorers, but nonetheless came away with their 26th victory of the year.
As they have been doing all year long, the Mavericks defense came up big as the Blazers shot just 41.8 percent from the field and Dallas got just enough offense (mostly from Jason Terry down the stretch) to get the 84-81 win. Dallas is now 26-8, with many of those wins coming in close games down the stretch.
DeShawn Stevenson has been a key offensive force in helping Dallas to win the last two games, both played without Nowitzki and Butler. He has connected on nine three-pointers, and his scoring punch will be sorely needed for as long as Nowitzki is out and probably even when he returns. He’s shown the ability in the past to hit the outside shot, but has never been very consistent so its unlikely that Dallas can depend on him on a nightly basis, however.
The Mavericks next play against Oklahoma City and Orlando at home, and hopefully Dirk will be able to at least be back for the Magic game as it is tough treading without him. But as long as their attitude at the defensive end stays the same, they will at least be competitive.