DALLAS – The Portland Trail Blazers got a clutch runner in the lane from CJ McCollum with .3 seconds left in the game and it was the winning margin in a 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks. But Portland still suffered a big loss in the game.
The Blazers lost guard/forward Evan Turner to a broken right metacarpal in his right hand in the third quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki buried a three-point field goal with 3.9 seconds to play to give the Mavericks a 113-112 lead before McCollum drove from left to right into the lane and lofted a pretty runner that passed through the net.
The Trail Blazers opened the game with a much different defensive strategy than they used in last week’s home loss to the Maverics.
Portland blitzed the Dallas pick-and-rolls – double-teaming the ball handler after the pick. It was effective for the most part, although the Blazers’ rotations were a little slow and uncertain at times when the Mavericks worked the ball to the weak side of the court.
All in all, the defense serves one big purpose – it gets the Blazers much more active at the defensive. Portland was as active on defense as it has been in weeks.
The quarter ended with the Trail Blazers holding a 32-27 lead. Portland shot 54.5 percent from the floor while holding Dallas to 35 percent.
The rebounds were a big factor in the first half as the Trail Blazers punished the Mavericks on the boards, leaping to a 30-16 advantage at halftime.
Dallas stayed in the game as it usually does, though, by hitting three-point shots. The Mavs shot 46.7 percent from long distance, including a 26-footer by Devin Harris at the halftime horn.
Damian Lillard had 22 first-half points for Portland and made all four of his three-point attempts. The Blazers were 7-14 from three over the first two quarters.
Portland led 64-53 at the half on the strength of 56.8 percent shooting in one of its best offensive halves of the season.