PORTLAND -- Chris Kaman scored a season-high 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Dallas to a 96-91 victory over Portland Sunday night at the Rose Garden. Kaman made 12 of 21 shots from the field for the Mavericks (38-39), who never trailed and led by as many as 26 points but had to hold off a furious Portland rally to win. Rookie Will Barton -- playing because of a second-quarter injury to shooting guard Wesley Matthews -- came off the bench for season highs in points (22), rebounds (13) and assists (six) for the Trail Blazers (33-44), who lost their eighth straight game. Portland closed a 24-point halftime deficit to 58-41 with a 9-2 run to start the third quarter. Over the next six minutes, the Mavericks outscored the Blazers 21-12 to go on top 79-53 late in the quarter. The Blazers, with four reserves teaming with starting point guard Damian Lillard, came on with a rush in the closing moments, drawing to within 88-83 with 3:30 remaining. Eric Maynor cut the margin to 94-89 on a driving layup with 1:05 left, and Barton converted a pair at the line to get the Blazers within 94-91 with 39.4 seconds to go. The Mavericks' O.J. Mayo missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to go and the Blazers rebounded, calling timeout with 12.5 seconds left. But Lillard missed a driving layup, the Mavericks rebounded and got the ball to Shawn Marion for a fast-break basket as time expired. Dallas jumped to a 9-0 lead in the game's first three minutes before Matthews broke the ice with a 3-pointer. The Mavericks took their advantage to 15-3 before Aldridge got going, knocking down three straight jumpers to get Portland to within 17-9. The Mavs, shooting .600 from the field the first 12 minutes, took a 29-18 edge into the second quarter. Dallas extended the lead to 44-22 midway in the second period. By that time, Matthews had been helped off the floor and to the locker room after rolling his right ankle. The margin was 56-32 at the half, Kaman leading the way with 16 points and six rebounds. By that time, Dallas held a huge advantage in field-goal percentage (.533 to .371), rebounds (26-15), fast-break points (13-2), points in the paint (30-12) and turnovers (10 by the Blazers, four by the Mavericks). NOTES: Portland's rookie point guard, Damian Lillard, struggled in the first three games against Dallas this season, making only 11 of 41 shots (.268) and averaging 14.0 points, well below his 18.9-point average. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is still impressed. "If he's not unanimous Rookie of the Year, I'll be surprised," Carlisle said. "He's been that good. We view him as one of the top eight or 10 point guards in the league -- maybe even better than that."... Through their current eight-game losing streak, Portland has allowed six of its opponents to score 100 points and shoot 50 percent of the field. "There are reasons for it," said Portland coach Terry Stotts, who has used five rookies often in recent weeks. "Of the eight youngest teams in the league, seven are in the bottom eight in (opponents' field-goal percentage). There is a correlation between defense and experience. There's a learning curve for the young guys. We don't want to give up 30-point quarters, 100-point games or 50-percent shooting. We're coaching as much as we can to improve in those areas, but it's part of a process."
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