Mavericks Halt Blazers Comeback in Dallas

DALLAS –- Damian Lillard’s 25 second-half points brought the Trail Blazers to within sight of a comeback win, but the Mavericks eventually secured a 111-102 victory in Dallas on Tuesday night.

“This game was very similar to the last two we played," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Get off to a slow start, get down at halftime, make a good comeback and fall short. I think we are all getting tired of it.”

The Trail Blazers are now 13-11 overall and 5-7 on the road this season. Portland has lost three straight, their last four on the road and eight of their last 11 regardless of location. More than a quarter of the way though the 2018-19 season, the Trail Blazers sit in a tie with the Mavericks for eighth in the Western Conference standings.

"We know that we're much better than what we've been doing," said Lillard. "The things that we're losing games on, it doesn't come down to ability a lot of times. A game like tonight, we could win this game. As good a team as they are, but it's the desire, the want to. Those plays here and there, it adds up and it builds your team up when you're able to make those plays over the course of the game. We just weren't making them, so you look at yourself and be like 'Come'on now, we've got to pick this up.'"

As Stotts aptly pointed out, Tuesday night's game went just about the same as most of Portland's recent losses. While the Trail Blazers were able to keep it close in the early going, a 17-3 Mavericks run to end their first quarter resulted in the road team entering the second quarter down 14.

Portland spent the next three quarters trying to get back into the game, and with not much success considering they shot 29 percent from three and turned the ball over 19 times for 22 Dallas points.

From nearly start to finish, every potential momentum shift was answered by the Mavericks. Whether it was cutting the lead to eight late in the third, only to have Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber outscore Portland 8-2 in the final minute of the quarter to push the lead back to 14 or Luka Doncic hitting a 26-foot stepback three-pointer with 59 seconds to play to make it a three-possession game, the Trail Blazers could never get enough stops at crucial moments to come away with the victory.

"When there were loose balls, (Dallas) were getting to the loose balls," said Lillard. "The ball coming off of the rim… they were getting extra opportunities just by getting to it faster than us. They reacted faster than us. When it’s X’s and O’s, execution and making shots, that’s one thing. But, I think it took us too long to start being a team and be more aggressive. We started to get extra possessions, offensive rebounds, and getting more physical on the defensive end. But, at that point, down 15, they are already confident and comfortable. It’s an uphill battle."

Lillard led all scorers with 33 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists. Lillard netted his ninth game of 30-plus points on the season, including four in the past five games.

CJ McCollum added 18 points, four assists and three rebounds in 39 minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu finished with a double-double of 12 points, 13 rebounds to go with two assists and a steal in 33 minutes. After missing Sunday's loss to the Spurs with left Achilles soreness, Evan Turner went 5-of-10 from the field for 13 points to go with four assists and five rebounds in just under 30 minutes.

All five Mavericks starters finished in double figures led by Doncic, who went 6-of-14 from the field, 4-of-9 from three and 7-of-9 from the free throw line for 21 points to go with nine rebounds and three assists, Wesley Matthews added 17 points on 50 percent shooting and DeAndre Jordan finished with 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds for the double-double.

The Trail Blazers now head back to Portland for a two-game set against the Suns on Thursday and Timberwolves on Saturday.