The Mavericks gave new meaning to the term “wintry mix” in the first quarter Sunday night against Portland.

While snow and ice blanketed the Dallas area, the Mavericks brought the wind-chill inside American Airlines Center, at least for a while.

They missed their first 10 3-pointers against the Blazers. It was proof that the 3-point arc has a short memory. The Mavericks had made a franchise-record 25 triples two nights earlier against New Orleans.

On Sunday, they couldn’t hit the frozen pond from the dock early in the game.

But the frost didn’t last. They heated up in the second and third quarters, but then were just 1-of-6 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.

The one make belonged to Dorian Finney-Smith, who took a beautiful feed from Luka Dončić with 49 seconds and banged in a triple to tie the game at 116.

The Mavericks couldn’t complete their rally from a dozen points down in the final quarter, and it once again showed how fickle 3-point shooting can be.

However, if the Mavericks could take a plus out of the loss that ended their four-game winning streak, it’s that Finney-Smith continues to shoot well. He was 4-of-7 from 3-point range and now is 17-of-36 in February from long range.

“He’s just staying with the process,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you work on 3-point shooting, you simulate situations that are going to happen in games. You step into them.

“He’s a guy who has come so far. He shot the ball well in Orlando this summer. Coming off COVID can’t be the easiest thing in the world. Things are coming together. But he’s a guy who believes in the process and that’s one reason why he’s improved so much as a player overall as well.”

When Finney-Smith is stretching the floor like he has recently, he’s one of the best values in the NBA because he’s always going to bring the defensive intensity. As he said, his 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game late was “a green-light shot” for him.

“They’re just coming my way,” Finney-Smith said of the 3-point flurry he’s had of late. “I just got to shoot the ball with confidence. I’ve been making them as of late. But we need to string some wins, so it’s bigger than me making shots.”

Road hazards: The Mavericks were grateful that the snowy conditions happened on a Sunday, when traffic around American Airlines Center was relatively light.

Carlisle said he didn’t hear of any players or staff having problems getting to the arena.

“Growing up in northern New York state, this is just another day in the life,” he said. “We have some guys that know this weather, others don’t. Coming in, one of the good things is that it’s a Sunday and there really aren’t many cars on the road at all. And they’ve done a pretty good job of clearing and sanding some of the main roads.”

Marathon home stand: NBA players and coaches like playing at home, but a seven-game stay in Dallas is difficult.

In most seasons, teams don’t have more than four or five games at home in any one stretch. But this season is different in a lot of ways.

“These kinds of stretches can always be challenging,” Carlisle said. “You can have the feeling that because you’re home, it’s going to be easier. But I think our group this year understands that that’s not the case, because of the schedule, because of COVID, we’ve kind of been up against it all year. I really feel our guys understand that keeping the edge is critical.”

After the loss to Portland, there are eight games left before the All-Star break, then the second half will consist of the second 36 games of the 72-game schedule.

BHM reading: As he has done throughout February, Carlisle began his media scrum on Sunday with a reading commemorating Black History Month.

Sunday’s lesson was about Mildred Delores Loving and her husband Richard Perry Loving, who were an American married couple who were plaintiffs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

It was a landmark civil rights decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Very important case,” Carlisle said.

Twitter: @ESefko

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