Final: Trail Blazers 109, Mavs 103

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

Dirk Nowitzki recorded his ninth consecutive 20-point game. We’re spoiled just to be able to watch him play.

The Mavs scored nearly 1.4 points per possession in the first half on possessions not ending in a turnover. But the club committed 11 miscues in the opening half, which was by far the biggest reason why Portland took a four-point lead into the break. Still, the Mavericks were positively sizzling in the first act, especially in the second quarter, when the team shot 54.5 percent from the field.


  • The Mavs staged a quick, furious comeback late in the fourth quarter to turn what was a significant deficit into just a two-shot disadvantage. Dallas has proven time and time again this season that no opponent’s lead is safe, no matter the size, and no matter how long is left on the game clock. Unfortunately, in games as close as this one, so many plays stand out as ones which could have been the difference. Rick Carlisle isn’t speaking in hyperbole when he describes the margin between winning and losing as “razor-thin.” Every single possession matters.

  • With Chandler Parsons out for the road trip as he receives an evaluation on his ailing right knee, Salah Mejri stepped into the starting center and Dirk Nowitzki slid back down to power forward. Sunday against Portland, Mejri had perhaps his finest game as a pro, finishing with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks. He was pivotal in the victory and earned the nod tonight. It didn’t take long to see what he could do, as in the first six minutes alone he scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, and blocked at least one shot (possibly two) — although the statistician didn’t reward him with one for either. He certainly made a play on the ball, though, and he affected other shots as well, ultimately earning a block later in the game. He has very good defensive instincts to go along with his surprising quickness for a player his size, at 7-foot-2. Add to that a pick-and-roll prowess we rarely see in a rookie, although to be fair he’s 29 years old, and he can already be a very effective center in this league. He finished tonight’s game with 14 points and 12 boards, good for his third career double-double.

  • Mejri answered the question regarding the starting lineup, but the other question was who would play the backup power forward minutes, as Parsons had been doing much of that for the last couple months. In the first half Charlie Villanueva received the backup time behind Dirk Nowitzki, but in the second half Dallas rolled with an incredibly small lineup featuring four guards around David Lee as the second unit, mostly because the Mavs were in offensive mode at that point as the Blazers built a double-digit lead in the third quarter. Dallas needed to make up points, and super small-ball has been effective at times this season doing just that, though Villanueva would see some time early in the fourth quarter. Justin Anderson also received backup minutes in the first half but didn’t appear in the second half. How Rick Carlisle manages the back end of the rotation in light of Parsons’ injury will be a major storyline to follow for as long as the forward is out. The Mavs keep a pretty tight rotation as it is, and Parsons contributes in so many different ways, so it will be very interesting to follow Carlisle’s thought process during the next few games.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (35-36) play the Golden State Warriors (63-7) Friday at Oracle Arena. Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. Central.

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