The Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the start of December with a 17-7 mark during that span, but suffered a rare offensive lapse in Monday’s 97-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points but Dallas, averaging 102.4 points per game this season, failed to reach 90 for only the second time since Dec. 1. With Josh Howard suffering with back spasms, Jerry Stackhouse started at forward for the third time this season and finished with 18 points after averaging 15.3 in his 32 games off the bench.
However, Nowitzki, Stackhouse and the rest of the Mavs starters didn’t get much help from the reserves, who did not make a field goal until Calvin Booth’s dunk with 1:22 left.
The Mavericks fell to 3-1 with Avery Johnson filling in as coach for Don Nelson, who is recovering from surgery on his right shoulder last Thursday.
“We didn’t come in here and take the Clippers lightly,” Stackhouse said. “They were a hot-shooting team. They moved the ball to open guys and made their shots all night. As the game went on and they got a little more of a lead, their confidence just started to grow.”
Michael Finley, who came in shooting a career-low 38.3 percent from the field, was 0-for-5 in the first half and 4-for-13 altogether. He missed his first eight shots before making a 22-foot jumper with 9:46 left and finished with 11 points—his lowest total in 10 games.
Dallas has taken advantage of playing nine of its last 12 games at the American Airlines Center, going 8-1 in the home contests, but plays nine of the next 12 on the road.
The Trail Blazers snapped a six-game skid and won for just the third time in 17 games with a 107-99 victory over San Antonio, owner of the NBA’s best record, on Monday.
Damon Stoudamire had 23 points and nine assists, and Joel Przybilla added 17 points and 16 rebounds for injury-plagued Portland, which was without leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph (bruised knee) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (elbow surgery).
“It was a gutsy game,” Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
Ruben Patterson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Darius Miles scored 21 points off the bench for the Blazers, whose losing streak was their longest since 2001-02—Cheeks’ first season as coach.
“We’ve been struggling, but the one constant is that we have been playing hard,” Przybilla said. “It paid off with a big win tonight.”
Portland improved to 1-2 on a five-game homestand that concludes against the Clippers on Friday.