DALLAS -- If the Dallas Mavericks are going to have any shot at the postseason, they're going to need more efforts like Wednesday night's at American Airlines Center. O.J. Mayo scored 28 points, and the Mavericks used a fourth-quarter surge to upend Portland 105-99. The Trail Blazers are one of the teams Dallas is trying to catch in the Western Conference playoff race. "I was just trying to be aggressive," Mayo said. "Obviously, this home stand is very important for us as we try to gain some ground in the standings before the All-Star break." It wasn't easy down the stretch after the Mavericks opened up a nine-point lead, but Vince Carter nailed a jumper as the shot clock was running down with 26.9 seconds left that essentially locked down the victory. The Blazers (25-24) began the day sitting ninth in the Western Conference, five games ahead of 11th-place Dallas. The Mavericks (21-28) inched a bit closer in the first game of a four-game home stand before the All-Star break. The Blazers are two games into a six-game road trip before the league's best gather in Houston. LaMarcus Aldridge paced Portland with 27 points, but after scoring 14 in the third quarter, the All-Star had only four in the fourth. Portland rookie Damian Lillard chipped in 19 points, with only seven coming after the first quarter. "We definitely had a chance to win tonight," Aldridge said. "I thought we had a tough stretch tonight when they had us down by one and then we had turnover after turnover. We still have to do better." Carter scored 17 points after missing one game with an illness. Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Mavs, who outscored Portland 25-17 in the final period. Shawn Marion had 13 points and 10 boards. Dallas also enjoyed a 22-9 edge in fast-break points. The Blazers made just one 3-pointer in the second half on 14 attempts after hitting 9 of 16 in the first half. The Dallas victory was the 500th of coach Rick Carlisle's career. "It means I've been around a long time; I'm getting old," he quipped. "But it means I've had a lot of good players. It's meaningful, but I'm not into those kinds of things. I'm into the day-to-day stuff. "One relief I have is I think after tomorrow I won't have to hear about it again for a while, so that's good." The Mavericks took their biggest lead (95-86) with about four minutes left on the strength of a 23-6 push going back to the third quarter. "I don't know that it was ever necessarily out of our control," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "They made a little push in the middle of the fourth quarter and got it up to 7 or 9, but we came down (and) we had a shot to tie it. So I don't know if it ever necessarily got that we lost control of the game. I don't know if we were ever in control of the game." Nowitzki gave Dallas its first lead (62-61) with a 3-pointer early in the third. The Blazers ran off 10 straight points late in the period but would only take an 82-80 advantage into the final 12 minutes. Portland opened the second quarter with a 10-4 run, taking a 43-31 lead and forcing a Dallas timeout. The Mavericks responded with a 12-0 spurt to tie it up. The Blazers went into the half holding a 61-57 lead on 15 points from Lillard and 14 from Wesley Matthews. Mayo had 20 for the Mavs, with Nowitzki adding 11 and Carter heating up late to score nine. The teams came out shooting, with both squads knocking down at least 50 percent in the first quarter. The Blazers drilled six 3-pointers. Lillard scored 12 points, including the last six of the period as Portland took a 33-27 lead. Mayo had 12 for Dallas on 5-of-6 shooting. NOTES: The Mavericks own nine wins, second best in the league, when trailing by at least 10 points this season. ... Dallas swingman Carter returned after missing one game with an illness. ... Portland was without Ronnie Price (right ankle), Sasha Pavlovic (left foot) and Elliot Williams (left Achilles). ... Blazers All-Star and Dallas native Aldridge had averaged better than 27 points in his previous eight games against the Mavs. "For most players in the NBA when you come back to your home city, you like playing against that team that you grew up watching," said Stotts, a former Dallas assistant. ... Carlisle is the 28th coach in NBA history to reach the 500-victory plateau. Carlisle is in his fifth year with Dallas after two seasons with Detroit and four in Indiana.
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