Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/30/13
One would think that Dallas would have learned by now how to close out games, especially if you have a 21 point lead; but evidently not and that was evident in Portland. I know that I don’t play the game and I’m not by any means a professional, but when you have a lead like this and you are well into the 2nd half of the game, then I don’t understand how you can let a team get the best of you as they did against the Trailblazers. Dallas controlled this game, once they took the lead and took the 1st half with a 59-42 lead and feeling good about it, I guess maybe too good because they got outscored in the 2nd half 64-45 and it should not have come to it. Portland scored first on an alley-oop shot by JJ Hickson followed by a dunk by Sarge James to get Dallas on the board. It was a back and forth thing for a while until Dallas finally took charge after Roddy B hit a jump shot right at the end of the first quarter and the Mavs had a 32-28 lead to take into the 2nd quarter, and that momentum carried them for a while to end the 2nd by outscoring the Blazers 27-14, but then you can’t just play 1 half of a game. The third quarter started with a thump to Dallas on a dunk from Lamarcus Aldridge, who finished the night with 29 points and 13 rebounds, but the most important points he scored was the three pointer, his only attempt, with 4.9 seconds left in the game that tied it at 104 each and then O J Mayo was hit with an offensive charge with 1.5 seconds left on the clock. Terry Stotts calls timeout to get his team set up and on the inbounds of the ball, Aldridge got the ball did a turnaround at the 18 ft line and that’s all she wrote; basket, win Portland and Dallas moves on to Golden State. The truth of the matter is that again, it should not have come to this, because still in the third quarter, Dallas had a nice lead, but missteps on defense, silly mistakes and turnovers, let the Blazers get back into the game on not defending in the paint or at the three point line and then it’s desperation time and then we commit silly fouls and put people on the line to get the gravy points. Portland attempted 23 free throws and connected on 18 of them for 78.3% and connected on 45.3% from the floor, but they got just the edge on the boards where they grabbed 46 rebounds to Dallas’ 40. Hickson finished the night with 26 points and 15 rebounds, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum each added 10 a piece for the Blazers; at least Dallas didn’t let Matthews and Batum explode as they have done in previous games. Dirk is finally getting back his form and led the Mavericks in scoring for the night with 26 points, Darren Collison added 17 points and had 9 assists. Mayo’s line was 15 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists as well. Shawn Marion added 12 points and had 9 rebounds and Sarge had a season high 10 points. Dallas’  numbers for the night was great because they shot 50% from the field, 53.3% from downtown and connected on 80% of their free throw attempts; they also had 31 assists for the game and won the challenge in bench scoring as well. So if the numbers were so good, how did they lose? It’s simple, didn’t block guys out when it got into the crunch time and couldn’t close it out. In my humble opinion, I think that when Dallas gets those good leads, they get into that comfort zone and against average teams, they can get that lead back, but when you are playing one of the better teams, you have to keep the pedal to the metal and the pressure on to get the win. This should have been played out like game 4 in the playoffs in 2011 where Dallas played the game and it swung it to their advantage and went on to win the championship. So now here we are coming up on the trade deadline and what is Dallas going to do. According to Mark Cuban, it’s harder to lose games than it is to lose money and that is probably true, because when you lose games, you will eventually lose money in more ways than one. What does Dallas do now? Good question; do they shop for a good trade or wait until the off-season to try and get a free agent? I don’t really know at this time what is better; the main thing is to play until the season is over and keep fighting to get to where you want to go. Dallas is on the road for 4 games and we are not off to a good start because now we go to Golden State to face one of the fastest pace teams there is in the league. Right now, they have to get focused and stay focused if they have any chance of just winning games. And with that, I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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