Tag: Dallas Portland

Trail Blazers Wallace celebrates against Mavericks during NBA playoff game in Portland, Oregon.

NBA Playoffs: Portland’s passion no match for Dallas execution

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Like Brandon Roy before him, Portland’s Gerald Wallace gave it everything he could on Thursday night. There was the 9-0 run by himself at the start, the playing through back pain, the great fourth quarter effort that culminated in 32 points (on 17 shots).

But as it has been for most of this series, even that kind of effort from Portland was just not enough. The Blazers played a good first and fourth quarters, much of it driven by emotion and great individual stands, but the 35 point combined second quarter was not enough to secure a win.

Dallas has been the better team. They executed better and more consistently all series. Dirk Nowitzki has been the best player — he had 33 and 11 in this game and for stretches just took over Game 6. With that the Mavericks are moving on to face the Lakers in the second round after a 103-96 Game 6 win on the road.

Portland needed a lot more LaMarcus Aldridge this series (he had 24 points in Game 6 but needed 25 points to get them). Tyson Chandler was the guy who controlled the paint in this series, doing it with defense and rebounds. That was one key difference — Dallas had someone to counter Portland’s best player, the Blazers had no answers for Dirk.

Portland could not get the easy buckets they needed. Dallas controlled the ball and had few turnovers, taking away the transition buckets Portland wanted. Dallas also controlled the glass, so few easy putbacks for Portland.

In fact, Portland’s late run to almost come back in the fourth quarter of Game 6 was fueled by six Dallas turnovers that let Portland get out and run a little.

But in the end, it was too little, too late. Dallas got control of the game (and Portland sat Andre Miller, which seemed an odd decision). Dallas looked like the better team.

Portland has nothing to hang their heads about — in a transition year (with the realization they needed to move away from the Greg Oden/Brandon Roy plan) they still won 48 games and showed what could be. They have some building blocks.

For Dallas, a prime upset pick in the first round (guilty as charged) they proved the doubters wrong. This is a good team and playing well. Whether Tyson Chandler can control the Lakers front line and if Dirk can match the scoring pace of Kobe are different questions. But Dallas will get the chance to prove it belongs as a contender starting Monday in Los Angeles.

When asked about thrown item, Mark Cuban throws expletives

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets, Game 2

Note to self: Remember to ask Mark Cuban new questions.

Remember back at Game 3 of the Portland/Dallas series when Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got hit with a projectile thrown from the stands by a Blazers fan? And we all smiled and moved on.

Well the Portland Tribune decided there should be more information on this. Whatever, you say. But that’s not exactly how Cuban responded to reporter Kerry Eggers questions about the incident, the paper reports.

“I got hit by something,” he said, pleasantly enough. “All I know is the pretty lady next to me jumped, something hit me in my face and that was it.”

Any idea what the object was?

Suddenly, Cuban’s mood darkened to the color of the Dallas sky (tornado warnings) that afternoon.

“What the (expletive) does it matter?” he asked. “Does it make a damn bit of difference at this point?”

“Well, I …” I began.

“Does it make a damn bit of difference at this point?” Cuban repeated.

“You sound irritated by it,” I said.

“Yeah, because it’s a dumb-ass question,” he said. “What’s the point of bringing it up? Are you going to go find somebody? Are you going to hunt the person down? … Ask me a real question.”

And it goes on from there.

Cuban later apologized to Eggers saying it was just the same old (expletive) over and over and he was tired of it.

We will note for the record that was a newspaper reporter that asked the question and dredged up a topic we Internet reporters had moved on from.

Except now we haven’t. We’re back here because Cuban lost it and blew up at a reporter. And it has all become news again. But Cuban knows that. There are times to blow it off and brush off the questions if you don’t want to answer them. But Cuban knows that, too.

There’s a lot more media around the Lakers for that second round series there. Better hope no Lakers fans throw something at him or that issue will never die.

NBA Playoffs: Portland’s offense had better turn up soon

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five
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Dallas is the team in control here.

Not just because they are up 3-2 in games, but because they have controlled play for all but one quarter in recent games and for most of this series. Dallas has shot better, rebounded better and defended better. Portland had Brandon Roy in the hot tub time machine for one quarter.

Portland has to find some better answers to why they can’t get consistent offense or their season ends at the Rose Garden Thursday

Portland’s primary source of offense is LaMarcus Aldridge, but Tyson Chandler has limited him. In the playoffs teams take away your best scoring option. The bigger issue is there have been no good second options for the Blazers. Well, except for one fourth quarter for the ages by Roy, but that is not a sustainable solution.

You would think that Andre Miller and Gerald Wallace would be enough (and they are scoring 28.6 points a game between them) but it’s about spacing — Portland needs the three ball to open up lanes into the packed-in Dallas defense. Miller doesn’t shoot threes (he had four all season so his four in the playoffs is a small miracle) and Wallace is shooting 18 percent in the playoffs from deep. The result has been a lot of contested long two-point shots by Portland, and that is just not an efficient way to score. (Remember how much better the Blazers offense looked when Wes Mathews caught fire from three in Game 3? They need more of that.)

Meanwhile Dallas has gotten balance from their deep roster that Portland lacks — every game somebody has stepped up besides Nowitzki. Jason Terry one game, Shawn Marion another. That has kept them ahead.

If Portland is going to force a Game 7 they have to keep Dirk Nowitzki off the free throw line, where he has made a second home this series. They need to get some offensive rebounds. Portland also needs to create some turnovers — that was a staple of their regular season success. Bottom line, via rebound or running they need some easy points and to stop letting Dallas get so many.

Portland has to figure out something fast, because Dallas has controlled this series of late. If not for Roy — who has been up and down this series — it would be over.

It may well be over tonight.

Late game screen adds some bad blood to Dallas, Portland series

Mavericks' Chandler gestures towards an official as Trail Blazers' Camby runs up court during their NBA Western Conference playoff game in Dallas

Now, just to add to the big comebacks and pressure shot in a fun series, we have some real bad blood between Dallas and Portland.

It stems from this play at the end of Dallas’ win to take a 3-2 series. With just 18 seconds left in a nine-point game, you usually see the defenders back off and the victorious team dribble out the clock. But Portland defenders kept pushing trying to force a turnover without fouling. Both teams were playing hard the full 48.

And with 15 seconds left Brian Cardinal set a hard screen that sent Blazers guard Patty Mills to the ground. And left him there for a few seconds.  Watch the video by following this link. Cardinal leans into Mills to free up J.J. Barea. He flattens Mills when the game was essentially over. After the buzzer sounded Wes Mathews. Marcus Camby and Andre Miller jawed at Cardinal, DeShawn Stevenson jumped in and both sides did some posturing.

Portland fans and players are pretty pissed off, reports the Oregonian.

Mills said the Blazers players felt it was a “cheap” play by the Mavericks.
“I didn’t see it, I didn’t know anyone was there, but I was wondering why Barea was pushing the ball hard up the court,” Mills said. “But I found out why. He set it up (with Cardinal). He set it up….

“At that point in the game, I don’t know … I don’t know if you do that when you are up that much,” Mills said.

My read of the play — Portland kept defending hard, Amon Johnson in particular, and if you’re going to keep playing like that then Dallas should keep playing hard. So a hard screen gets set. If you don’t want to play that way then back up and don’t pressure the ball. That was not the vibe, so Dallas responded.

If you really don’t like it, win so you can set the screens at the end if you want.

NBA Playoffs: No comeback this time, Dallas gets defensive in win

Dirk Nowitzki
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Dallas has basically won seven of the last eight quarters against Portland.

The series is 3-2 and headed back to Portland because of Brandon Roy’s epic fourth quarter Saturday (which John Hollinger of ESPN said so well was not Roy’s best quarter it was anyone’s best quarter).

Monday night there was no Roy making plays in the fourth quarter, there was no Blazers comeback. There was Dallas taking the lead in the third quarter clamping down on defense and getting  a win 93-82.

Dallas dominted this game — they grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, or 41.7 percent of their missed shot resulted in a second chance. Those offensive rebounds really cut off any dreams of a Portland comeback in the fourth quarter — they’d get a stop but Dallas would get the board and reset the offense. Dallas was also just more aggressive and that resulted in them shooting nearly twice as many free throws (35 to 18).

But the real key for Dallas was a dominating second half defensive performance where the Trail Blazers scored just 39 points. Dallas held Portland to 43 percent shooting for the game and  Portland had just a 97.6 points per 100 possessions average. LaMarcus Aldridge to 12 points on 15 shots and Dallas focused on shutting him down, although they really shut everyone down. Or look at it this way: Jason Kidd had more assists (14) than the Blazers team (13).

Tyson Chandler was a beast, with 20 rebounds — 13 offensive — and 14 points, plus helping hold Aldridge in check. He came out with energy from the opening tip and when he does that Dallas is so difficult to stop. When Chandler plays like this you think Dallas could be a contender.

In particularl Dallas really smoked Portland’s small-ball lineup, which Nate McMillan tried in the second half and stuck with even as Dallas took control of the game. The lack of rebounding realy did in Portland.

This series is not over — we have seen the magic of the Rose Garden. We know what Portland can do. We know a Game 7 is not out of the question and anything can happen in one game.

But if Dallas brings the defense like this again, they will be playing in the second round soon.