In the first quarter, Martell Webster and Andre Miller looked determined to shake off Friday’s loss at Houston with a combined 10 points in the first six minutes. Jerryd Bayless was feeling it as well. If Portland could have played just a smidge of defense, they might have led by more than one with three minutes to go.
Dallas seemed to catch bad-Blazer-itis and shot nothing but jump shots and two ill advised Barea Layup attempts, one of which was bricked, the other of which met a quick death at the hands of Jeff Pendergraph, until a last second tip in by Dampier. Rudy hit a long three that he shot from the hip, but it was just a bit late and Portland goes into the second quarter up five, 26-21.
The Dallas bench went to work against Portland and quickly overcame Portland’s lead and pulled ahead by three. Continuing the reversal from the Houston trend, Portland did not score a field goal for the first 6:38 of the second quarter. However, they did draw seven free throws in that period. Miller scored 19 in the half, and Portland needed every one of them because Josh Howard scored 14, including a run of 13 consecutive points. Aldridge and Bayless had eight points and one rebound apiece, but Portland stayed ahead on the boards on the back of seven (!) hard nosed rebounds from Juwan Howard.
In the second half, Portland continued to stay even at the foul line and the same three heroes of the first half continued their strong play in the second. Bayless, Miller, and Aldridge were the only Blazers in double figures until Blake joined the ranks with seven minutes to go in the fourth.
Dallas clawed their way back and the game was tied at 88 all with five minutes left in the game and would briefly take the lead, however, Miller was so money that Timothy Giethner wishes to have a word with him. With 26.8 seconds left, Dallas took the lead on two made free throws by Dirk Nowitzki. 101-103 Dallas. With 14.5 seconds left, Miller threw up a shot so ugly that the Dallas announcers were stunned that it went in. Game tied 103-103.
Dallas inbounded and after working the clock down a bit they got the ball to Dirk who was bothered by the length of Batum and missed the fade away jumper. Portland got the board and called time with 1.1 left. Aldridge missed a turnaround jumper from 20 feet out and the Blazers, exhausted from a tough game the night before, looked directly down the barrel of overtime against a fresher and more energetic Dallas team.
To start overtime, Andre Miller dropped a three pointer right in Shawn Marion’s face. Why the hell not. Dallas hit back-to-back jumpers to take a one point lead, but Miller lined up a midrange jumper and drained it for his 50th point. Jason Terry answered with a three, and after a long rebound when Blake temporarily confused himself with Andre Miller and launched a looong three, Jason Kidd put back a Nowitzki miss to put the Mavericks ahead by four, 112-108 2:22 left in OT. Bayless did what Bayless does and got to the line for two. Dirk missed a 14 footer and Miller (who else?) scored his 52nd point of the game on a layup at the other end to tie it at 112 with 1:33 on the clock. After Jason Kidd bricked a three, Nicolas Batum pulled down his second clutch rebound of the overtime period and Juwan Howard scored his first points of the game on a long jumper to give Portland a two point lead with 44.8 on the clock. Batum did a masterful job defending Nowitzki and forced another miss. Portland rebounded and Dallas used the foul they had to give with 20.3 left on the clock. With 4.9 left, Steve Blake missed a 26 foot three point attempt. Dallas rebounded the ball and called time with 3.2 left in overtime. Plenty of time to either win or force another over time. The ball went in to Dirk who missed another turn around jumper with Batum right up in his face. Ballgame, 114-112 Portland.
Miller scored 52 points on 31 shots with just 8 free throws to tie Brandon Roy for second highest point total by a Trail Blazer (behind Damon Stoudamire’s 54) and set a new career high, his previous career high was 37. Aldridge scored 21 points but pulled down just three rebounds. Juwan Howard had his back though and pulled down a game high 12 boards. Bayless and Blake scored 17 and 10 respectively. The Blazers only dished nine assists, but with Miller hitting like he was, why pass? Batum was a hero on the defensive end, forcing Nowitzki into missing his last four shots.
Credit Nate MacMillian for a great defensive strategy against an MVP level player. The Blazers got the second win of the season against an opponent that swept them last year and kept themselves out of 11th place in the West and capped the losing streak at three. According to Nate MacMillian, good teams don’t lose more than three in a row. Are the Trail Blazers a good team? They were tonight.
Aaron Grossman, AGDuck on Twitter had these tidbits:
– Portland gets over a big hurdle by winning an overtime game after losing seven straight overtime contests.
– Portland wins twice in Dallas for the first time since the 1998-99 season and is the first NBA team to do so this season.
– Andre Miller’s 22 field goals made are a franchise record (previous high was 20).