Doncic And Another Injury Down Trail Blazers In Dallas
DALLAS -- After starting a three-game trip with a win Wednesday night in Houston, the Trail Blazers lost the second leg of the trip in Texas, falling 120-112 to the Dallas Mavericks in front of a sellout crowd of 20,283 Friday night at American Airlines Center.
"It seems like every time we play Dallas, we end up having one of these games," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Very competitive, team gets the lead, some other team comes back, kind of what happened tonight."
The Trail Blazers are now 18-25 overall and 9-15 on the road this season. They are tied 1-1 in the season series versus the Mavericks after splitting the first two games, both in Dallas.
Portland took an early 11-point lead thanks to Dallas missing their first five shots of the game. The Mavericks would eventually find their footing, thanks mostly to two factors.
First, the Blazers were seemingly unable to defend without fouling, giving up 12 free throws in the first half alone. The other issue was the play, and especially the shooting, of second-year guard Luka Doncic, who went 4-of-5 from three for 14 points in the first quarter.
"Doncic is a great player, and when he's making his threes, he's even better," said Stotts. "You give up something, but he had a great night shooting the ball and that made the difference."
By time the first quarter was over, the Mavericks had used a 26-14 run to erase the Blazers' lead and take their own one-point advantage into the intermission. But the far more pressing issue was the loss of CJ McCollum, who rolled his left ankle at the 4:37 mark of the quarter. McCollum hobbled to the locker room on his own, though he did not return.
"It's tough, injuries are a part of the game obviously," said McCollum. "It's unfortunate that I was next up on the list, but just got to try to battle, fight through it, next man up."
With nobody able to slow Doncic, Portland continuing to foul and an inability to make up for the absence of McCollum, Dallas would go up by as many as 11 in the second quarter before taking a a nine-point lead into the intermission.
Portland would trail by as many as 17 in the third quarter before rallying to cut Dallas' advantage to six with under four minutes to play.
But Portland would go scoreless in the following three minutes, with both Damian Lillard, who played nearly 40 minutes Friday night despite being listed as questionable to play with an upper respiratory illness, and Kent Bazemore missing open three-pointers that would have pulled Portland to within one possession.
"We came out, had a good start to the game," said Lillard. "They made a run, like teams usually do, especially at home. We got down 15, 16 a couple times in that third quarter and I just think the amount of fight that it took for us to kind of make it a game down the stretch, we just ran out of gas."
After the misses, Doncic scored the next five points, including a rainbow three-pointer from 37-feet out to seal the game for the home team.
Lillard led the Blazers with 34 points on 13-of-25 shooting go go with 10 assists for a double-double. With the performance, Lillard surpassed 14,000 points for his career, making him one of four active players who score that many points in his first 8 seasons. Carmelo Anthony added 22 points on 50 parent shooting from the field and five rebounds in 32 minutes. In the process, he became the eighteenth player in NBA history to surpass the 26,000-point mark.
Hassan Whiteside made nine of his 10 attempts from the field to finish with 21 points while also grabbing 18 rebonds for the double-double. The 7-0 center also blocked five shots and handed our two assists in 36 minutes.
Bazemore added 11 points, four assists and three rebounds in just under 31 minutes. Mario Hezonja and Anfernee Simons each added seven points off the bench.
Doncic led all scorers with 35 points while also adding eight rebounds and seven assists in 34 minutes. The Dallas point guard set a career-high with eight three-pointers in the victory.
Tim Hardaway Jr. made five three-pointers to finish with 29 points in just under 32 minutes. Seth Curry and Jaylen Brunson combined for 29 points off the bench for the Mavericks.
Next up, the Trail Blazers finish off the three-game trip with the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night versus the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.