Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/30/13
PORTLAND -- Even before LaMarcus Aldridge’s 18-foot turnaround baseline jumper went through the net to give Portland a 106-104 victory over Dallas Tuesday night at the Rose Garden, teammate Nicolas Batum was racing across the court, his hands raised in jubilation. “He said he had a lot of faith in me,” Aldridge said, laughing. “That’s good, because I didn’t know yet. I was waiting for it to go in.” Aldridge’s basket capped an epic comeback as the Trail Blazers (23-22) rallied from a deficit of 21 points in the third quarter and seven points with two minutes to play. Aldridge scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Portland, which won for the third time in four games after losing six in a row. J.J. Hickson added a season-high 26 points and hauled in 15 boards for the Blazers. Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 26 points for the Mavericks (19-26). “I can’t get tired of appreciating what our team does as far as competing and never giving up,” said coach Terry Stotts, whose Blazers are 13-8 this season in games decided by six points or fewer. “We’ve seen it a number of times this year, but it never gets old.” Dallas had extended a 59-42 halftime lead to 69-48 early in the third quarter before Portland rallied behind Aldridge, outscoring the Mavericks 26-11 the rest of the quarter to trail only 80-74 entering the final period. The Blazers tied the game at 88-88 on a Sasha Pavlovic breakaway dunk after a turnover, then went ahead 90-88 on Pavlovic’s driving layup with 6:43 to play. Dallas outscored Portland 13-4 over the next five minutes -- keyed by Darren Collison’s banked-in 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring -- to forge a 101-94 lead with 2:03 remaining. The Blazers cut it to 101-98 on four consecutive free throws -- two each by Aldridge and Wesley Matthews -- with 52.4 seconds to go. Nowitzki missed a jumper and Batum knocked down a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to tie it at 101-101. But Nowitzki answered with a trey to push Dallas back in front 104-101 with 11.4 seconds to go. After a Portland timeout, Aldridge buried a 3 -- his first of the season -- and it was knotted at 104-104 with 4.5 seconds on the clock. “I was surprised (Batum) threw it to me, yeah,” said Aldridge, who was 0 for 9 from 3-point range this season. “But that I made it, no. “It felt good, but the game wasn’t over yet.” After a Dallas timeout, O.J. Mayo was called for charging with 1.5 seconds remaining. After a Portland timeout, the Blazers in-bounded to Aldridge, who hit the game-winner over Brandan Wright to touch off a riotous celebration of the Blazers at midcourt. “We didn’t make plays, we didn’t hit enough shots and we didn’t get enough stops,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Simple as that. You have to give (the Blazers) credit. They made some phenomenal plays when they had to. It’s just very disappointing.” “Being down 17 at halftime and 21 in the third quarter against a veteran team like that -- that’s our best win,” Hickson said. “We stayed with it. The home crowd stayed behind us the whole time and we pulled it off.” NOTES: Aldridge hit a game-winning shot as time expired in a 99-97 overtime win at Dallas last April 6. ... The Dallas native has averaged 26.7 points and 11.0 rebounds in his last four appearances against the Mavericks. ... Aldridge and Hickson are the first Blazers to post at least 26 points and 13 rebounds in the same game since Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey did it against the Los Angeles Lakers in December 1987. ... It was only Nowitzki’s third 20-point game this season. The veteran forward missed the first 27 games following knee surgery ... Dallas center Chris Kaman did not play after suffering a concussion during practice Monday. ... First-year Portland coach Stotts was an assistant under Carlisle the previous four seasons in Dallas. “Terry has done a great job here,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know exactly what expectations were, but I know (the Blazers) have exceeded them, and he has had a lot of do with that.” ... The Mavericks, who entered tonight’s play having won six of their last eight games, were on the first leg of a four-game road trip that includes stops at Golden State, Phoenix and Oklahoma City. “We’ve done some better things,” Carlisle said. “But this is a very challenging part of our schedule, so we have to take those things we’ve done well and continue that and amp things up. We’re going into some hostile places.”
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