Mavs edge Blazers on Ellis buzzer beater

Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PORTLAND -- Guard Monta Ellis' fadeaway jumper at the buzzer gave the Dallas Mavericks a 108-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Moda Center.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his team-high 28 points in the final 3:40 for the Mavericks (13-8), who led by six points with 45 seconds to play.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Portland (17-4), which got a game-high 32 points from guard Damian Lillard.
Ellis' game-winning shot came after Lillard sank a 3-pointer to tie the score at 106 with 1.9 seconds left.
Lillard knocked down a 3-pointer to cut Dallas' lead to 94-91 with 4:15 remaining, then drained another one from long distance to tie it at 94 with 3:58 to go. Nowitzki stemmed the tide with a pair of baskets at the other end, but Portland answered with four straight points, and it was 98 all with 2:29 left.
Nowitzki followed with a three-point play to make it 101-98 with 2:12 on the clock, but Portland forward Nicolas Batum's jumper cut it to 101-100 with two minutes remaining. Ellis' 3-pointer upped the margin to 104-100 with 1:36 to play. When Nowitzki hit another step-back, Dallas' lead was 106-100 with 45.5 seconds remaining.
Batum cut the lead in half with a 3 with 37 seconds to go. Ellis missed a runner and Portland rebounded, but guard Mo Williams missed a 3-point attempt with 11 seconds to left. After a timeout, Ellis was surrounded at midcourt and the ball went out-of-bounds. Officials ruled it Dallas ball, but after a video review, the Blazers were given possession with 6.8 seconds remaining.
After another timeout, Portland inbounded to forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who passed out to Lillard, who sank a double-clutch 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to tie the game at 106.
Ellis scored 15 points and Dallas shot .581 from the field in jumping to a 55-53 lead at halftime. Lillard had 19 points and Lopez 10 points and 10 rebounds in the half for Portland.
Dallas jumped to an 11-4 lead in the game's first three minutes and was still ahead 15-8 midway through the first quarter. Portland reeled the Mavericks in, though, and took a 30-28 advantage into the second quarter.
The teams battled back and forth through the second period, Dallas taking a two-point lead into intermission.
NOTES: Portland entered the game 5-0 this season playing the second of back-to-back games. The Blazers clobbered Utah 130-98 on Friday night. ... When the Portland job was open after the 2011-12 season, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle lobbied hard for his chief assistant, Terry Stotts. Stotts is now in his second season at the position and the Blazers took a Western Conference-best 17-3 record into the game. "Terry is so deserving of this opportunity," Carlisle said. "He has done more with it than I could possibly imagine anybody doing. The success (the Blazers) are having has a lot to do with how he has approached it. He has completely transformed the vibe here. It's now a high-energy, entertaining, skilled team -- right now, the best in the West. I couldn't be happier for him." ... Carlisle, on Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge: "It's pretty simple. He's an MVP candidate, doing damage inside, outside, rebounding -- everything. I'm a longtime fan of his game. He has more help than he's had in awhile. The addition of Mo Williams and Robin Lopez has transformed their team. They have a starting six on this team now. Last year, they had a starting four and had to kind of piecemeal it together. Add two top-level guys to the mix, the results have shown the difference." ... In his 16th NBA season, 35-year-old Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki came into the game averaging 20.9 points while shooting .487 from the field and .403 from 3-point range. The best way to defend him? "I don't know if there is a best way," Stotts said. "You have to make him work, get him out of his comfort zone, do the best job you can knowing he is going to hit some shots that are indefensible."

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