West Playoffs Game #1 - Dallas Mavericks 89, Portland Trail Blazers 81

By aleksandermickoski

Being the road team for the first two games meant that Portland really had to step up their intensity for the upcoming war with the Dallas Mavericks. Their efforts looked very convincing for a good portion of the game, until Dirk Nowitzki, who had been previously shut down by LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby, decided to come alive in the clutch. The result? A massive 23-9 fourth quarter run, featuring 19 free throws for the Mavericks (on which they converted 18 – 13 of them by Nowitzki himself) compared to just 2 for the Trail Blazers.

Of course, the Mavericks also controlled the latter stages in the first half thanks to the herculean performance put on by the ageless Jason Kidd. The 16-year veteran bombed was unstoppable on offense and gave Andre Miller and Brandon Roy absolute nightmares on the defensive end. The Trail Blazers countered with their big threat to start the second half. Dallas native Aldridge was consistent throughout and served as one of the few reliable options on offense all night, utilizing his back-to-basket game to perfection. Gerald Wallace completely fell flat with his offense, failing to convert his shots, but was as active as ever on the defensive side of the ball.

Score By Quarter:

1st Quarter: 22-21 Portland

2nd Quarter: 26-15 Dallas

(Dallas led 47-37 at halftime)

3rd Quarter: 20-14 Portland

4th Quarter: 28-24 Dallas

(Portland won the second half 44-42)

Important Events:

Jason Kidd was the main benefactor in the Mavericks’ 10-point lead at half-time. He managed to drain 6 3-point shots throughout the entirety of the half.

LaMarcus Aldridge delivered throughout the entire game. He never neglected to attack the basket and converted several key shots, though he did run into foul trouble.

Dirk Nowitzki became the man in the fourth quarter. Dallas’s surge in the 4th was almost completely powered by the big German, as he collected 18 of his 28 points in the final quarter and got to the line at will.

Portland Trail Blazers Individual Stats:

Wonder Kitchen: Aldridge was 12-20 from the field, most of his buckets coming in the paint for his team-high tally of 27. He also pulled down 6 rebounds, a block, a steal and 2 assists.

Scoring Punch: Andre Miller couldn’t play a lick of defense tonight, but at least he put forth some useful production offensively, with 18 points on 7-13 shooting, in addition to 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Nicolas Batum arose from the bench to post 14 points on 6-14 accuracy, while collecting 2 rebounds and 4 assists.

Window Cleaners: Marcus Camby was monstrous on the boards, with a polished performance of 18 as he went all the way to the top level. He also dropped 4 points and 5 assists. 

Shooting Gallery Nightmare Patrons: Wallace was showcased on the hauntingly bad highlight reel thanks to his 4-13 clunkfest for 8 points. It was also evident that Brandon Roy’s knees were stuck in the bog, as he managed only 2 points, converting 1-7 attempts.

Band Of Thieves: Gerald Wallace was as nimble as ever on Saturday night, collecting 3 steals.

Crab-Apple Turnovers: Although he served up some delicious treats for the fans tonight, Aldridge dropped 4 dessert trays worth of turnovers in the back room.

Dallas Mavericks Individual Stats:

Wonder Kitchen: Jason Kidd was en fuego as the heat rapidly rose in the kitchen, turning the dial upwards for a 9-14 shooting clinic for 24 points. He also notched 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block for some all-world cuisine.

Scoring Punch: Dirk Nowitzki was invisible until the final frame, but finished with 28 points on 7-20 from the field. However, he was denied a pass to the Shooting Gallery Nightmare thanks to his 13-13 image of perfection from the charity stripe.

Window Cleaners: Nowitzki also cleaned 10 windows of Mark Cuban’s condo for a big night at the office, while Tyson Chandler washed another 9 for a serviceable outing.

Double-Double Club: For working overtime, Mark Cuban presented Dirk Nowitzki an honorary night’s admission to the club.

Shooting Gallery Nightmare Patrons: Peja Stojakovic’s shooting touch has been seeped away through the years by the brooding spirits of what some call “too scary” of an amusement park ride, as he only went 2-7 for 6 points. J.J. Barea lacked the trajectory and the accuracy to fend off the spirits, as the ride limited him to 4 points on 1-7 shooting.

Team Stats:

Field Goal%: Dallas 40.9%, Portland 46.1%

3-Point Field Goal%: Dallas 52.6%, Portland 12.5%

Free Throw%: Dallas 86.2%, Portland 69.2%,

Rebounds: Dallas 39, Portland 40

Assists: Dallas 14, Portland 22

Steals: Dallas 5, Portland 7

Blocks: Golden State 7, Portland 3

Despite a solid performance for most of the night, the Portland Trail Blazers now find themselves down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 will go on Tuesday night at 9:30, where it is imperative for the Blazers to steal a win if they want to win the series for themselves. LaMarcus Aldridge should continue to deliver as he did this game, but the supporting cast MUST step up and provide some sort of support, and prevent another performance like Dirk Nowitzki had down the stretch.

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