Mavericks 108, Trail Blazers 104
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—A few key absences didn’t faze the Dallas Mavericks.
Michael Finley had 33 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 32 points and seven rebounds as Dallas won its fourth straight. The Mavericks trailed by as many as 11 points and didn’t take the lead for good until the midway through the fourth quarter.
“Today was a tough game. We were never in control of the game—they were the whole time,” Nowitzki said. “We found a way to steal it.”
Rasheed Wallace, returning from a left ankle sprain that kept him out for four games, scored 24 points as the Blazers dropped their fourth straight. Portland has lost eight of its last nine.
Nowitzki led a second-half charge that tied it at 79-79. The teams traded the lead, and Finley hit a 3-pointer with 5:55 left to put Dallas up 98-96. After Wallace missed one of two free throws, Finley came back with a slam dunk and it was 100-97.
Nowitzki expanded the lead to 103-97 with a 3-pointer that gave the Mavericks their biggest lead of the game.
Ruben Patterson narrowed it to 105-102 for the Blazers with a fast-break layup, then added another layup with 1:20 left to make it 105-104.
After Nowitzki hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left, Wallace missed a 3-point attempt. Antawn Jamison added another free throw for the final margin.
Patterson finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
“We have to get a couple wins in a row to push ourselves back up the ladder,” Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. “There’s a few teams going through a spin right now. Obviously, we’re one of them.”
Wallace was greeted by loud cheers when he first scored for the Blazers, and he went on to score the team’s first seven points. He had 14 points in the first half, but got into foul trouble with just more than five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth, Wallace appeared to hurt his ankle again, but he stayed in the game.
“I’m cool, man,” he said afterward.
The Mavericks were without their coach for much of the game. Nelson became angry that a foul was not called against the Blazers late in the first quarter and was ejected after two quick technical fouls called by referee Michael Henderson.
Nelson’s son, Donn Nelson, took over in his father’s absence and the Mavericks got their third consecutive win on the road.
“All season we’ve felt like we were a couple of wins away from overcoming what has been going on with us,” the younger Nelson said.
Nash sat out the game because of a sore right hip. Travis Best made his first start of the season in Nash’s place and finished with no points and seven assists.
Nash, averaging 14.2 points and 8.2 assists, first injured the hip lastSunday at Detroit. An MRI showed a bruise.
Center Dale Davis did not start for the Trail Blazers. No official explanation was given. he scored four points in 23 minutes off the bench. … Portland’s 68 points at the half was a season high. … The ongoing speculation about a trade between Dallas and Portland was put to rest by Donn Nelson: “There has never been an offer, there isn’t one and I don’t expect their to be one. It’s really just a media fabrication more than anything else.” Nelson said he met with Portland general manager John Nash before the game to air things out, adding: “We just wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything we weremissing, and there wasn’t, so we just kind of move on our separate ways.”