Recap: Mavs fly by Blazers for Carlisle's 500th W
Recap: Trail Blazers 99 at Mavericks 105
Mavs fly by Blazers for Carlisle's 500th W
DALLAS — After collecting 499 wins throughout his illustrious career entering Wednesday night’s matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wanted no part of pregame discussions in regard to becoming just the 28th coach to claim 500 victories.
Instead, the coach knew his team had plenty of work to do before claiming a win on the American Airlines Center floor to begin a five-game homestand. And with the Mavericks hoping to avenge last Tuesday night’s 106-104 defeat in Portland to begin a 1-3 road trip, Carlisle’s focus was less on the record books and more so on containing All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge.
But, although they wouldn’t be able to keep Aldridge quiet for a full four quarters, the Mavericks (21-28) would give the 11th person in NBA history to win a championship as both a player and a coach plenty to talk about following a 105-99 victory over former assistant Terry Stotts, allowing Carlisle to join yet another exclusive fraternity.
“As [assistant coach Jim O’Brien] said walking through the tunnel, it means I’ve been around this a long time and I’m getting old,” Carlisle joked after reaching the milestone. “But it means I’ve had a lot of good players, and so it’s meaningful, but I’m not into those kind of things. I’m into the day-to-day stuff. One relief I have is that I think after tomorrow I won’t have to hear about it again, at least for a while. So that’s good.”
“It’s obviously a fun accomplishment for a coach,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “That means he’s been around a minute. That means he’s got some experience. That means he’s won a lot, and I’m happy I was here to be a part of the ultimate win, and that was winning a championship for him. That was everybody’s dream, and I’m glad I got to reach it with him.”
Hot starts by Nowitzki and leading scorer O.J. Mayo would get the Mavs out of the gate quickly while Wesley Matthews returned fire for the Blazers. Eight-time All-Star Vince Carter then returned to the court off the bench midway through the opening period, after missing Monday night’s 112-91 loss in Oklahoma City due to a sickness.
“It felt good to get back. It was tough to watch,” Carter said after leaving his imprint on the game. “I just did whatever I had to do to kind of sweat it out. I told them today I was going to give it a shot. I went through shootaround to see how I felt. I felt fine and here I am.”
But Rookie of the Year frontrunner Damian Lillard would come alive early after struggling to just 5-of-24 shooting in the first two games versus the Mavs this season. Meanwhile, the Blazers (25-24) lit the net on fire from behind the 3-point arc. And behind Lillard’s 3 with 2.0 seconds left, the Blazers slid into the second stanza with a 33-27 edge after hitting 6-of-9 from long range in the period.
With Lillard and Portland’s shooting assassins continuing to find success from long range, the disadvantage quickly ballooned to double digits in the second quarter. But Mayo would counter with a relentless attack on the offensive end, scoring at will to get his team back within two, 43-41, on an and-one transition score with 6:55 left in the half.
An offensive board and putback score by forward Shawn Marion then tied the game at 43-all to complete a 12-0 run, before two thunderous driving slams by Carter. Still, even despite Carter’s aerial display and Mayo’s best efforts, the Mavs reached the midway mark trailing 61-57.
“We just had to continue to wear them down, regardless of the lead early. Stay with it, continue to attack, continue to defend, and offensively for us, put the pressure on them. And hopefully late in the game we could wear them done and get what we wanted, and we were able to do it,” Carter explained.
Led by Mayo’s 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 3-for-4 from 3-point range, the Mavs’ 51.1 percent shooting bettered the Blazers’ 46.7 percent at the other end of the floor. But behind 9-of-16 shooting from the 3-point line, the Blazers seized the lead by overcoming the Mavs’ 16-7 advantage in fast-break points.
“I think they actually were on fire early,” Nowitzki admitted. “We were down like 12 in the second quarter, but we did a decent job closing out the half. We were only down four or five there at the half and that was obviously good momentum going into halftime. We carried it over to the third and four.”
Looking to take the momentum to begin the third quarter, the Mavs seized their first lead of the night at 61-60 on Nowitzki’s 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Dallas defense then settled in while containing Lillard and the Blazers’ outside shooting, allowing Aldridge to carve up the Mavs inside while scoring eight points during a 10-0 Portland run that was halted by rookie Jae Crowder’s timely 3.
Carter then followed suit with a 3 to close the third, sending the home team into the final 12 minutes of play down just two, 82-80.
A 3-pointer by fourth-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois to open the fourth quickly slanted the scoreboard in the Mavs’ favor. A jumper by Nowitzki and triple by Carter then lifted the Mavs to a four-point edge, their largest to that point, midway through the period. Marion took it from there, connecting on a 3 of his own before hitting a floater in the lane to go up 93-86 with 5:16 remaining on the clock.
Mayo then attempted to close the door on the Blazers for the night with an array of offensive moves. But after a pair of free throws by Lillard with 1:32 on the clock made it just a three-point game, Carter would officially slam the door with a long two to go up 99-94 with 26.9 ticks left.
The Dallas defense then stiffened before a late 3 by Matthews was sandwiched between free throws by Beaubois and Mayo to put the game away down the stretch.
“It felt good coming off my hands,” Mayo said of his hot shooting. “Just being aggressive. We’ve just got to continue playing well as a team and try to rack up some wins this last week.”
Off the bench, Carter added 17 points in his return to the lineup. Meanwhile, Nowitzki pitched in 16 points and Marion registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Aldridge led the Blazers with 27 points on 11-of-22 from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, while Matthews added 21 points with 5-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. However, the Mavs outshot the Blazers on the night, 47.7 percent to 42.9 percent, hitting 10-of-20 from behind the 3-point arc compared to Portland’s 10-of-30 from deep. The Mavs also seized a 46-42 rebounding edge and a 22-9 margin in fast-break points, committing eight turnovers for 16 Portland points while the Blazers surrendered just 10 points on their six giveaways.
“I’m proud of the way the guys played,” Carlisle concluded. “A very tough game. Kind of a mirror image of the game in Portland. They had their way with us early, we had to fight back, and the guys did a good job of fighting. And that’s how all the games are going to be. That’s what we’ve got to prepare for on this homestand.”
“It’s a homestand. It’s an opportunity for us to gain ground in the standings before the All-Star break and it’s a game we needed to win.” Mayo added. “We remember what happened last week, being up 20 and taking a L out in Portland, so we wanted to really come in here and play hard for the entire 48 minutes to get the win.”
The Mavericks will now take Thursday off before hitting the practice court Friday. The team returns to action to continue its homestand against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. The Warriors lead the season series 2-0 after wins by a combined seven points. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.