The Mavericks blew a 21 point second-half lead after Portland used a pair of double-digit runs to get back into the game. The Trailblazers eventually took their first lead since the first quarter before Dallas went on a run of their own to pull back out in front.
Dallas looked like it was about to beat Portland for the second time this season after a Darren Collison three-point attempt in the final minutes. With no time left on the shot clock, Collison threw up a three-pointer to avoid the turnover that ended up banking in off the glass giving the Mavericks all the momentum. At the time, it looked like the dagger for the Trailblazers, until a three-point competition began in the final minute.
Nicolas Batum tied the game at 101-101 with a three-pointer in the final minute of the contest. Seconds later, Dirk Nowitzki ran down the court and quickly answered with a three-pointer of his own to put his team back up 104-101. Portland appeared to run the exact same play they had just previously ran for Batum to get off another long range attempt only for the small forward to pass the ball to a wide open Aldridge. Aldridge was left all alone just inside the perimeter, and had the presence of mind to step back behind the arc and drain his first three-pointer of the season to tie the game with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Dallas looked determine to close out the contest and take the final shot before O.J. Mayo drove to the basket uncontrollably and committed an offensive foul. The brutal decision by the first-year Maverick unfortunately left 1.5 seconds remaining and Portland used its final timeout to draw out a play.
Aldridge received the inbounds pass and with Brandan Wright draped all over him, nailed a fade away jump shot to give the Trailblazers the walk off victory.
The loss is devastating for the Mavericks, as it appeared throughout the game they were going to escape with the victory and move closer to the eigth and final playoff spot. For every run made by Portland, Dallas seemed to have an answer and quickly countered to put themselves back out in front. Giving up the 21 point lead would have been tough to swallow despite the victory however with the loss it becomes nearly unbearable.
Even worse was the constant teasing that occurred in the final minute towards Maverick fans. Batum hitting his three-pointer to tie it was understandable, but when Nowitzki hit his three-pointer, surely everyone in Dallas thought the game was over. Then to have Aldridge, a Texas native and the furthest thing from a three-point shooter, is simply painful for a fan to endure. Than to watch Mayo commit the ultimate brain cramp that left plenty of time on the clock is something that will no doubt haunt the club for weeks.
The four game road trip the Mavericks kick started in Portland needed to begin with a victory against the team that currently sits ninth in the conference. The Trailblazers are only one game out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference while the 11th placed Mavericks now fall to five games out.
If Dallas can’t rebound on the road trip and finish with a positive record than the season could quickly be at a lost. However, if they can than they’ll be able to return home and seek revenge against Portland on Feb. 6.
Maverick fans can only hope the rematch against the Trailblazers is worth a lot more than just redeeming pride.