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Trail Blazers Finish Strong In Game 3

04/22/11
  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.5

    The Portland Trail Blazers guarded a three-point lead with 9.6 seconds in the fourth, when Andre Miller stepped to the free-throw line and sank two clutch free throws in Thursday’s 97-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at the Rose Garden.

    The Trail Blazers (1-2) grabbed their first win in the first-round series after their 13-point lead in the final quarter was cut down to three in the closing seconds.

    Wesley Matthews scored 16 of his team-high 25 points in the first quarter after making four 3-pointers in the period to match Portland’s playoff record for most threes made in a single quarter.

    “Just a sense of desperation,” said Matthews of the Game 3 matchup. “I don’t want to say desperation, I’ll say urgency…It really started when we took the court. The crowd was amazing. It was everything they said it would be.”

    LaMarcus Aldridge recorded 20 points, and Andre Miller and Brandon Roy each tallied 16. 

    “We just got fired up,” said Matthews, “and it was a must-win for us and we took care of it.”

    Roy, who apologized this week for his comments concerning his lack of minutes in Game 2, produced 16 points in 26 minutes and led the Trail Blazers’ scoring in the second and third quarters with seven points in each period that gave Portland a 75-72 lead going into the fourth.

    “It was a big game for me,” said Roy, who received a standing ovation when he entered the game in the first quarter. “I’ve been around this organization for five years now and the fans have been great. To see the support that they showed tonight, nothing else mattered.”

    Jason Terry led all scorers with 29 points after shooting 10-of-13 from the field and added seven assists. Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and hit a turnaround bank shot to come within 95-90 with 42.9 seconds remaining.

    “They really came out guns blazing,” said Nowitzki. “They jumped on us in the third quarter as well, but we kept weathering the storm.”

    The Mavs (2-1), who shot 51 percent from the floor, opened the fourth 1-of-6 as Nicolas Batum and Gerald Wallace, who both went scoreless in the first half, compiled a 12-2 run for an 87-74 Trail Blazer lead. 

    Batum, who didn't get his first bucket until late in the third, and Wallace, who scored his first points in the fourth, both ended with seven apiece. Wallace also grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds.

    Terry’s fifth three ignited a 7-0 Dallas run midway through the final frame. Nowitzki hit two jumpers to come within six, but Marcus Camby, who had 10 rebounds, made a tip shot to preserve an 89-81 advantage.

    Both teams battled at the free-throw line, where the Mavs made just 4-of-8 attempts down the stretch. Aldridge sank a pair for Portland, but the Trail Blazers went scoreless in two minutes as Dallas slimmed the deficit 91-85 with 3:41.

    Miller and Jose Barea, who had four points, exchanged lay-ups and Aldridge hit a long jumper to stretch the lead to eight with 2:21. 

    “I thought we worked for it,” said Trail Blazers’ Head Coach Nate McMillan. “I thought we got the tempo we wanted.”

    Nowitzki made 1-of-2 free throws and hit the turnaround that put the Mavs in reach by five. Then as Matthew’s jump shot missed, Jason Kidd closed the gap to 95-92 with 12.9 seconds. 

    Kidd dribbled the entire floor and pulled up to the three-point arc unguarded and launched what looked like a three, but was later called back as a two-point bucket. 

    Portland shot 12-of-21 in the first quarter with help from Matthews, who shot the Trail Blazers out to a quick 10-2 lead. He was spotless for first 10 minutes in the period, nailing 6-of-6 from the floor, including all four threes, before finally missing a deep three with two minutes remaining.

    “It’s just who wants it more,” said Matthews. “At this point, this is seven times we’ve played Dallas this year, there’s no hidden plays.”

    The Trail Blazers will try to even the series when they return to the Rose Garden on Saturday to host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 PM.

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