Portland Drops Game in Dallas to Begin Final Road Trip

Trail Blazers lead Spurs and Jazz by three games for third seed with four games to play

DALLAS – The Mavericks used 17 3-pointers (of 44) to create separation and eventually put Portland away, defeating the Trail Blazers, 115-109, at American Airlines Center. Portland struggled from the 3-point line most of the night, making just 10 of 40 attempts.

“We gave them too many open looks from three,” said Head Coach Terry Stotts. “We had miscommunication on pick-and-roll coverages. We didn’t get back. For a team that doesn’t run much, we gave up too many transition points. We just didn’t play well.”

The Trail Blazers fall to 48-30 this season, leading the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (45-33) by three games for the third seed in the Western Conference. Portland has just four games remaining on its schedule, all against teams in the Western Conference playoff picture.

“We always play hard. I think the effort was there,” said Damian Lillard. “But the team that we’ve become, effort isn’t enough. You’ve got to play hard and be able to play smart. We had too many lapses defensively. On the offensive end, I think we did pretty well we just didn’t make shots.”

Five Trail Blazers scored in double digits, led by Damian Lillard, who scored 29 points and went a perfect 15-for-15 from the foul line, tied for his most without a miss during his NBA career. Jusuf Nurkic made his first four shots and tallied the game’s only double-double with 15 points on 7-for-8 field goal shooting and 13 rebounds. Shabazz Napier made all four of his 3-point attempts in scoring 13 points.

“I thought we were going to make a run like we always do, and we didn’t,” said Nurkic. “So, we need to learn from that, plus playoff games are around the corner.”

Dennis Smith, Jr. led the Mavericks with 18 points, with 14 coming in the second half. Jose Barea scored all 15 of his points in the first half on 6-for-7 shooting, and Harrison Barnes added another 15 points for Dallas.

TOP SCORERS
• The Trail Blazers have now scored at least 100 points in 21 straight games, marking the longest single-season streak of games with 100+ points since Jan. 16-April 14, 1990 (42 games, tied for team record).
• Lillard has scored at least 25 points in four straight games against Dallas and nine of the past 10 meetings overall.
• Napier reached double digits in scoring for the first time since March 9 vs. Golden State.

NOTABLE
• Nurkic notched his 24th double-double of the year, leading the Trail Blazers.
• Portland’s 86 assists over the past three games are the team’s most in any three-game stretch this season.
• Lillard injured his left ankle with three minutes to play but remained in the game.

QUOTABLE

“The brand of basketball that we’ve been playing has been at such a high level that even the top teams in the league haven’t been able to beat us on some nights. So if we come in here with that same level of focus and that same mentality, then you wear a team like them down.” – Damian Lillard

LISTEN UP

NEXT UP
The Trail Blazers visit the Houston Rockets for the second of a four-game road trip to complete the season’s road schedule. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.