Portland (12-13) at Dallas (19-5)

By MATT BECKER, STATS Senior Writer Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 Tipoff: 9:30 pm EST Wed Dec 15, 2010

Unable to protect another seemingly safe lead, the Dallas Mavericks had their longest winning streak of the season come to an abrupt end their last time out.

While the Mavericks know they have to play tighter defense down the stretch to prevent big rallies, the Portland Trail Blazers are hardly looking like a team that could mount such a comeback.

Dallas tries to bounce back from its first loss in 3 1/2 weeks Wednesday night in its first meeting of the season with the Trail Blazers, who are coming off a second straight sluggish offensive performance.

After wasting a 25-point lead against Utah on Saturday before rallying for its 12th straight victory, Dallas (19-5) squandered a 20-point second-quarter advantage and lost 103-99 to Milwaukee on Sunday.

The Mavericks had a chance to tie the score late but Dirk Nowitzki(notes) missed from 7 feet with 10.6 seconds to go. Nowitzki finished with 30 points for Dallas, which lost for the first time since Nov. 19.

“This kind of slippage we’ve seen all too often,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’ve got to coach harder, the players have got to be more conscientious, we’ve got to do better than we did (Monday).”

Dallas, known for playing sound defense under Carlisle, surrendered 60 points in the second half - its highest total allowed in a half this season.

“This was a game we should have won, a game we clearly had under control,” forward Tyson Chandler(notes) said. “We let them back in it.”

Dallas, which allowed more than 100 points for just the sixth time this season, doesn’t seem likely to have as much trouble defensively against a Trail Blazers team that has managed 69 second-half points in its last two games combined.

After scoring a then-season-low 78 points in a loss to San Antonio on Sunday, Portland (12-13) hit a new low in Monday’s 86-73 defeat at Memphis, its eighth in 12 games.

The Blazers had a three-point lead after three periods, but missed 15 of 19 shots and scored nine fourth-quarter points in their lowest-scoring quarter of the season. They shot 36.7 percent from the floor overall, the seventh time in 12 games they were below the 40.0 mark.

“We had a bad fourth quarter,” said guard Andre Miller(notes), who finished with 14 points and nine assists. “The most important quarter, and it killed us. That was the game right there.”

The Blazers were also hurt by an ineffective Brandon Roy(notes), who was playing on a bum left knee he tweaked Sunday.

Roy, who entered as Portland’s leading scorer at 17.7 points, finished with seven on 3-of-16 shooting. The three-time All-Star has shot 31.9 percent from the floor in his last six games.

The Blazers, wrapping up a four-game trip, have lost nine of their last 11 away from Portland. However, they took both meetings in Dallas last season after dropping their previous 11 there.

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Wednesday, Dec 15