1. NEVER GIVE UP: All appeared lost for the Mavs when Rodney Hood nailed a 9-foot fadeaway jumper to put Portland ahead, 96-81, with 10:43 remaining in the game. But that’s when the Mavs got mad and decided to do something about their dire situation. United as one, the Mavs rolled up their sleeves and not only started making a statement on the offensive end of the floor, but they also performed a significant defensive number of the Trail Blazers. After Hood’s bucket, the Mavs ended the game on a brisk 21-5 run. Overall, the Mavs outscored Portland 24-9 in the fourth quarter, tying for the fewest points they’ve allowed in any quarter this season.
  2. LUKA LED THE WAY: As the Mavs were honoring Superhero Day, Luka Doncic continued to marvel and show why he’s the heavy favorite to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award. With the Mavs teetering on the brink of finishing this three-game home stand with a disappointing loss, Doncic rose up and rescued Dallas just in the nick of time. One of the most efficient fourth-quarter players in the NBA this season, Doncic scored 13 of the 24 points the Mavs tallied in the fourth quarter. That includes making five of their nine fourth-quarter field goals and both of their fourth-quarter 3-point baskets. He also made the game-deciding three-point play to go with his nine rebounds and six assists.
  3. HARDAWAY PROVED HIS WORTH: Now we see why the Mavs were so anxious that Tm Hardaway Jr. was included in that blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis trade with the New York Knicks on Jan. 31. Hardaway poured in 24 points, grabbed four rebounds and distributed three assists while going 9-of-18 from the field against the Blazers. He also climbed the ladder once and received one of those riveting Luka Doncic lob passes that directly led to an alley-oop dunk. In addition, Hardaway was a proficient player on the defensive end of the court. And during his 32 minutes, his +17 plus/minus was the best of any of the 23 players who played on Sunday.
  4. FINNEY-SMITH’S SOLID DEFENSE: Portland’s Damian Lillard was on fire when he scored 21 points in the final 5:20 of the third quarter. But Dorian Finney-Smith brought out a bucket of water and cooled him off the fourth quarter. Known for his defensive prowess, Finney-Smith held Lillard to just two made three throws in the frenetic fourth quarter. During that time, Lillard missed all four of his field goal attempts and also turned the ball over twice. In the fourth quarter alone, Lillard had a -five plus/minus while Finney-Smith was a +10. As a whole, as he continues to adjust to his increased playing time in the wake of the two recent trades, Finney-Smith finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes.
  5. THE BIG 500: It may have gone unnoticed by some, but Sunday’s win was a milestone for the Mavericks in that it was their 500th home victory against 217 losses for a winning percentage of 69.7 percent since they moved to American Airlines Center in time for the start of the 2001-’02 season. The new arena has been so kind to the Mavs that in their 17 seasons since AAC opened, the Mavs advanced to the playoffs 14 seasons and won 12 playoff series. They also reached the pinnacle of their profession by capturing the 2011 NBA title – albeit it was clinched on the road in Miami. The Mavs also have sold out 706 straight home games dating back to Dec. 15, 2001 – the longest such streak in the NBA – and sold out an additional 67 consecutive home playoff games.

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