Mavericks Finally Win On The Road, Finish Off Blazers In Six

Dallas now leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can clinch the series in Game 6 in Portland.

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NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Schedule

The NBA has released the complete schedule for the Western Conference Semifinal between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. The series will begin Monday, May 2 in LA at 9:30 CDT on TNT. The NBA chose to give the two veteran teams an evenly spaced, day-on, day-off schedule with an extra day before a potential Game 7. TNT, ESPN and ABC will all carry games in the series.

Game 1 – Mon May 2, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. CDT, TNT
Game 2 – Wed May 4, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. CDT, TNT
Game 3 – Fri May 6, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, TBD, ESPN
Game 4 – Sun May 8, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 2:30 p.m. CDT, ABC
Game 5 – Tue May 10, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TNT
Game 6 – Thu May 12, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, TBD, ESPN
Game 7 – Sun May 15, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 2:30 p.m. CDT, ABC

See the full Eastern Conference Semifinals schedule here. The remaining Western Conference Semifinal is to be determined, as the Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the winner of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. Memphis leads the series 3-2.

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Dirk Nowitzki Leads Mavericks Past Blazers, 103-96

The Mavericks went back to Portland for Game 6 having won just two of their last 20 playoff road games and none of their four in Portland this season. Consider both demons exorcised. After a slow start, Dallas took advantage of Gerald Wallace leaving the game for most of the second quarter with back tightness and outscored the Blazers 33-16 in the second quarter to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Dirk Nowitzki did his best work in that second frame, pulling the Mavs from an eight-point deficit after one with 8-11 shooting in the first half. Nowitzki also finished 11-11 from the line and pulled down 11 rebounds in addition to his 33.

Jason Terry and Shawn Marion both rolling in the third, helping Dallas reach an 19-point lead. Terry was 9-16 from the field for 22 points and added eight assists. His 20+ point game was his fourth of the series off of the bench. Marion was the only other Maverick in double figures, finishing with 16.

The Blazers would not go away quietly, narrowing the score to 86-85 with half of the fourth quarter remaining behind Wallace (32 points, 12 rebounds) and LaMarcus Aldridge (24 and 10). Images of the Mavericks’ Game 4 collapse returned, but Jason Kidd hit a three-pointer to stretch the lead back to four, and Dallas methodically stretched the lead to safety.

Dallas will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, after LA finished off New Orleans 98-80 in their own Game 6.

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Mavericks Vs. Trail Blazers, Game 6: Dallas Can Advance With Thursday Victory

The Dallas Mavericks lead the Portland Trail Blazers, 3-2, in their first-round NBA playoff series and can eliminate the Blazers with a Thursday night victory in Portland. Dallas took command of the series Tuesday thanks to, as SB Nation colleague Maurice London indicated in his Mavs/Blazers Game 5 observations, improved rebounding. The Mavericks won the battle of the boards, 49-37, and limited Blazers center LaMarcus Aldridge to 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting.

Of concern for Dallas, as I tried to lay out Wednesday, is its struggles to find offense away from home; in its losses this series, both in Portland, only Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry scored consistently, with Shawn Marion doing some clean-up work. The Mavs need at least one of their outside shooters, such as Peja Stojakovic or Jason Kidd, to serve as a reiable third option from the perimeter so Nowitzki and Terry don’t get overworked.

Dallas clearly has the talent and wherewithal to close out Portland as soon as Thursday, and perhaps it learned a valuable lesson in its Game 4 defeat, in which it squandered a 23-point, third-quarter lead due to its inability to either contain Brandon Roy or to get easy baskets at the rim area in the fourth quarter. Mindful of those mistakes, the Mavericks ought to be able to win tonight, earning several days of rest before taking on the winner of the Los Angeles Lakers/New Orleans Hornets series in the next round.

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2011 NBA Playoffs, Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Dallas Now Leads 3-2 As Series Moves Back To Portland

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 93-82 on Monday to gain a 3-2 advantage in their first round series. Game 6 will be in Portland on Thursday night. The big story in this game was Tyson Chandler and his 13 (!) offensive rebounds. Chandler and his 20 total rebounds nearly single-handily gave the Mavs a pretty sizable rebounding advantage. Our Mavericks blog Mavs Money Ball has reaction from Chandler.

"I really just want to do whatever it takes to win at whatever time. In that last game, I was as in as much shock as everybody else. I vowed to myself that I wouldn't let it happen again. Coming out tonight I knew my team would need me because after such a bad loss, a lot of times it can roll over into the next night and I didn't want to go back to Portland behind the 8-ball."

When Chandler can play as well as he did on Monday, and win his matchup with Marcus Camby, he provides a pretty big advantage for the Mavs. He allows the rest of the team to play their game, because they know that they have a force to cleanup the glass. Here is Dirk Nowitzki on Chandler's impact:

"Tyson was phenomenal on both ends of the floor with his energy. He was all over the boards. He was trying to make Aldridge work for everything and protected our paint. I always said if Haywood and Chandler play big for us in the paint, we can play and beat anybody."

These two teams have played nine times this season (regular season included) and the home team has won each contest. The Mavericks will have to be the first team to reverse that trend if they want to avoid a Game 7 back in Dallas over the Weekend.

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks Win Pivotal Game 5 Over Trail Blazers

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks put Saturday's collapse behind them in Game 5, as the German sharpshooter scored 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead Dallas to a 93-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Dallas blew a 23-point lead in Game 4's 84-82 loss to fall back into a tie in the series. But Monday's frontcourt effort and shutdown defense in the fourth quarter have the Mavs headed back to Portland holding a 3-2 series edge.

Jason Terry added 20 points, Shawn Marion scored 14 and Tyson Chandler put up 14 points and 20 boards, 13 coming on the offensive end for the victors. Jason Kidd chipped in 14 assists to make up for a 1-for-7 shooting night.

"I was just trying to be aggressive," Chandler said. "Tonight was a big game for us and we didn't want to go back to their place down in the series."

Andre Miller posted 18 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who were beaten on the glass, 49-37, but head into Game 6 on Thursday knowing they own an 8-1 home playoff record against Dallas.

Portland ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run en route to a 20-15 lead, and Dallas responded by scoring the final seven points of the second for a slim 44-43 lead at the break.

The Mavericks took 14 free throws in the first half -- compared to one for Portland -- then made 13-of-17 from the foul line in the third quarter to take control.

"Big keys. Tyson [Chandler] on the boards ... and also allowing them to get into the penalty early," said Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, who was fined by the NBA for criticizing officials in a Game 1 loss and was hit with a technical foul late in the third quarter on Monday. "They just dominated the free throw line: 35 free throws to 19."

Nowitzki scored 11 points in the frame and hit two free throws with 5:23 remaining to start a quarter-ending 19-8 stretch that Marion capped with jump hook shot for a 75-63 advantage.

The Trail Blazers couldn't muster another miraculous comeback in the final 12 minutes.

Brandon Roy, spurred on by the Rose Garden crowd in an epic 18-point fourth- quarter effort to spark Saturday's rally, opened the final frame with a jumper, but Portland went the next seven-plus minutes without hitting a field goal.

By the time Miller ended the visitors' drought with a layup with 4:09 to go, the Mavericks had built an 89-69 lead, allowing them to cruise to the finish line.

Game Notes

The home team has won in all nine meetings between the teams this year, including the four regular season showdowns...Chandler's 13 offensive rebounds was a franchise playoff record...Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge each grabbed nine rebounds to go with 16 and 12 points, respectively...Roy was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting...Portland shot 31.3 percent in the fourth quarter...Dallas went 26-of-35 from the foul line, compared to Portland's 14- of-19 showing.

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Mavericks Vs. Trail Blazers, Game 5: Can Dallas Shake Recover From Game 4 Collapse?

The Dallas Mavericks had one of the worst NBA Playoffs collapses on Saturday when the team faltered in the fourth quarter as Brandon Roy led the Portland Trail Blazers back from what was at one point a 23-point deficit into an 84-82 victory to even the series at two apiece heading into tonight’s Game 5 in Dallas.

The Mavs will need to be able to forget that game, and the fact that the team has lost in the first round of the playoffs four of the past five seasons, as they look to pull ahead in the series and play more their style to keep themselves in the playoffs.

For what it’s worth, both Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki told NBA.com’s Sekou Smith that they aren’t worried about last game’s collapse.

“I’ve lost 20-point leads before,” Kidd said. “It happens. I’ve been in this position before.”

Nowitzki takes a slightly different approach, leaning on the Dallas fans to lead the team to a Game 5 victory.

“We just have to stay positive,” Nowitzki said. “Two out of three we’re at home, where our crowd has really carried us, especially in the fourth quarters in the two wins that we got. This is going to sting, this is going to hurt. But we worked hard all through the regular season to get those two at home.”

Regardless of what the player’s think, it’s imperative that Dallas limits Roy on Monday night if they plan to keep the series in their favor.

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Mavs Blow 23 Point Lead, Lose To Trail Blazers

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Brandon Roy scored Portland’s final eight points to cap a huge fourth-quarter rally, as the Trail Blazers erased a 23- point deficit to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, 84-82, in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal set at the Rose Garden.

Roy scored 24 points off the bench for the Blazers, who won 97-92 on Thursday and now head back to Dallas for Game 5 on Monday with the series even at two games apiece.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and six rebounds for Portland, which outscored Dallas, 35-15, in the fourth. Andre Miller donated 14 points.

Dirk Nowitzki tallied 20 points for the Mavericks, who have a bad history at the Rose Garden. The Blazers are 47-18 at home against the Mavs in the regular season and 8-1 in the postseason.

Jason Terry had 13 points in a reserve role for Dallas, which got 12 points and 11 rebounds from Shawn Marion.

It seemed like the Mavericks were heading back to Dallas with a 3-1 series lead following a dominating third quarter. But Roy had something to say about that.

The Blazers, who entered the fourth down 67-49, slowly chipped away at their deficit. It was a 77-70 game after Roy hit a jumper with four minutes to play, but Terry made a three-pointer at the other end.

That was all Dallas had left in the tank, as Roy and the Blazers ended the game on a 14-2 run.

Wesley Matthews and Roy made consecutive layups to make it a six-point contest with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Rose Garden was in full force after Nowitzki was called for a charge.

Aldridge then made a hook shot to get Portland within four, 80-76. The Rose Garden continued to cheer after Jason Kidd turned the ball over. Roy kept the party going with a long jumper.

Marion scored Dallas’ only points during the stretch with a short jumper. But Roy was fouled while making a three-pointer at the opposite end. He made the foul shot to make it an 82-82 game with 1:06 to play.

Terry missed a three-pointer and the ball was knocked out of bounds by Dallas. Roy made his way into the lane, pulled up and made a bank shot to give Portland the lead with 39.2 seconds to go.

Kidd was off the mark from three-point range for the Mavs this time around. Gerald Wallace grabbed a key defensive rebound and called timeout.

Roy tried to put the game away with a three-pointer, but he missed. Kidd grabbed the rebound and threw a pass down the court for Terry, who missed from beyond the arc as time expired.

Dallas seemed to take control of the game with a dominating third quarter. Holding a 39-37 edge with over 10 minutes left, the Mavericks went on a 9-0 spurt. Marion tallied four points during the burst, which Kidd capped with a three-pointer for a 48-37 margin.

Just moments later, Nowitzki made a short jumper and two free throws prior to Marion’s jumper with six minutes remaining for a 54-39 lead.

After Aldridge made two free throws, Dallas ripped off 10 straight points. Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic bookended the flurry with a pair of three- pointers for a 64-41 edge with 2:47 to go.

Portland scored the final five points of the stanza to get within 67-49 heading to the fourth, a period in which the Blazers controlled.

A low-scoring first quarter resulted in Dallas holding a 16-11 edge. Portland outscored the Mavericks, 24-21, in the second to get within 37-35 at the half.

Game Notes

Portland and Dallas have met in the playoffs three times previously, with the Trail Blazers winning two of the three series. The last time these two squads met in the playoffs was in 2003 when the Mavs topped Portland in seven games…Dallas dropped its eighth straight road playoff game. The Mavericks have now lost 19 of their last 22 playoff games away from home…Wallace had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, which went 22-of-23 from the foul line…Dallas went 10-of-26 from three-point range…Roy entered the fourth quarter with six points.

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks Vs. Trail Blazers Game 4

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers.
Dallas leads Portland two games to one.

The Dallas Mavericks look to win a pivotal Game 4 this afternoon in Portland in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. The Mavericks jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, with both wins coming at home in Dallas, before losing Game 3 to Portland 97-92, allowing the Trail Blazers back into the series. Now, the Mavericks must win or face a best-of-three series going forward against the Blazers.

The Trail Blazers currently have the home crowd and momentum on their side as well. The raucous crowd in Portland actually threw objects at Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in Game 3, one of which hit Cuban in the face. Of course, Cuban was jawing with the fans, but no injuries were reported by Cuban.

Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST, 4:00 p.m. CST and 2:00 p.m. local. 

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Trail Blazers Vs. Mavericks: Portland Gets On The Board With Game 3 Victory

The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Mavericks 97-92 on Thursday and now only trail the Mavericks 2-1 in their first round playoff series. They used a balanced scoring attack and renewed defensive effort to take the Mavericks out of rhythm, and are now just one more home win away from taking this series back to Dallas tied up at 2.

Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks with 29 and 25 points respectively. Terry was extremely efficient, shooting 10-13 from the field, but Nowitzki wasn't quite as sharp as we have come to expect, shooting just 10-21 from the field and an uncharacteristic 4-7 from the free throw line. But according to our Mavericks site Mavs Money Ball, Nowitzki thinks the Mavs have a good shot to get some momentum back in this series.

"We feel like we took their best blow and we were right there, so we get another opportunity Saturday. Obviously, we don't want to go home with a tied series, so we gotta come out and really go for it on Saturday, leave it all out there like we did tonight. They wanted it more. Sadly, it's gonna be a street fight, and let's see who wants it more on Saturday."

One of the big issues in the game was that the Mavericks main inside presence Tyson Chandler was limited to just 15 minutes before fouling out of the game. He registered just two points and four rebounds.

"I’m not going to go there. I think everyone who watched the game can make their own assessment of it." Chandler said, "Obviously, I was frustrated because I was on the sideline because of it. To be honest, a lot of my fouls, I don't even know if I got one on-the-ball foul as far as making a defensive effort. I might have gotten one, and the other five­, I don't know how to avoid them."

This loss to the Blazer might not doom the Mavericks in this series, but it could raise a bigger question about the state of the Mavericks team. During this current era of Mavericks basketball, they haven't shown the ability to win tough games on the road. According to Bob Sturm of Sports Day DFW, the Mavericks are now just 2-17 in their last 19 road playoff games.Yikes.

But there is one element of the Mavericks home-court environment that follows them on the road, and that's owner Mark Cuban; who brings his courtside sideshow with him wherever the Mavericks play. According to ESPN, Cuban was struck in the face by a projectile. We're not quite sure what it was, but it didn't stop Cuban from putting his hand up to his ear to encourage the crowd to continue booing him. That's the Cubes we know and love.

The Mavericks will have a chance to put their foot back on the gas pedal on Saturday, with an afternoon tilt in Portland.

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Blazers Hang On For 97-92 Win Over Mavs In Game 3

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Wesley Matthews finished with 25 points, helping the Portland Trail Blazers get back into their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Mavericks with a 97-92 victory in Game 3.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points for the Blazers, who still face a 2-1 deficit in the matchup but will have a chance to even the series Saturday at home.

Brandon Roy had 16 points and four assists in a resurgent performance for Portland. He had played just eight minutes and didn’t score in Game 2, after which he expressed disappointment to the Oregonian.

He later apologized for the slightly controversial comments, and Thursday he played an important role for the Blazers in nearly 24 minutes off the bench.

Jason Terry had 29 points and seven assists for Dallas, while Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 with nine boards.

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Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Dallas Looks To Reverse Playoff Road Woes In Portland

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers - Dallas leads series 2-0

The Mavericks seem to have things rolling as their first round series with the Trailblazers moves to Portland with Dallas leading 2-0. Dirk Nowitzki has led the team in scoring by making his living on the free throw line. Jason Kidd is averaging 21 points per game after reaching 20 points just twice all season. Even their defense has shown up, as they have stifled the Blazers late in both games.

The challenge is to keep that roll going on the road. Dallas led the league in road wins this season (and did the same the season before), but two of their 13 losses came in their two visits to Portland, and the playoffs … oh the playoffs. The Mavs’ overall playoff woes – one series win since 2006 – have mirrored their stuggles winning on the road. They started those 2006 playoffs well on the road, winning both games in Memphis and winning two in San Antonio, including the decisive nailbiter in Game 7. They even won two of three in Phoenix, including the game that sent them to the NBA Finals for the first time.

Just as the franchise’s fortunes seemed to shift ever since two home wins to start those Finals, Dallas has almost completely stopped winning on the road. Three straight losses in Miami, including two heartbreakers, started them on a streak during which they have lost 16 of 18. They lost all three in their historic first-round upset loss to the Warriors in 2007, all three in their first-round ouster at the hands of the Hornets in 2008, and all three last year in their first-round loss to the Spurs. In each series they lost just one home game, but that one was enough because of their complete in ability to pull out anything on the road.

Their only two wins in this stretch came in San Antonio in 2009, not surprisingly in their one series win in the past four playoffs. They were back to their old tricks after that, going 0-3 in Denver in the Conference Semifinals and losing that series in five.

With home court they may be able to squeak past the Blazers this round without a road win, but until they find their game outside of Dallas they will not return to the late rounds of the NBA playoffs. Tonight is their first opportunity this season, as they have Portland on their heels with two strong finishes and surprising shooting by Jason Kidd and Peja Stojakovic. Nowitzki’s terrific free throw shooting has masked his unusually low 38% from the field.

Tonight he will look to improve on that number, and the Mavs will hope to stay hot from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, they will hope that they can continue to survive against LaMarcus Aldridge with one man, allowing them to slow Portland’s slashers. They will also hope to once again to keep their smaller guards from being exposed against the Blazers’ athletic, physical backcourt.

It should be choppy, it should be tight, and it could shed a lot of light on just how far Dallas is prepared to go in these playoffs. Tip is 9:30 CT on TNT. Also, be sure to check out Mavs Moneyball to release your inevitable game stress with other fans.

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NBA Playoffs Mavs Vs. Blazers: Mavs Roll 101-89, Lead Series 2-0

(Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki led the veteran Mavericks with 33 points, including the club’s last 11, carrying Dallas to a 101-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Dallas received 21 points from Peja Stojakovic and 18 from Jason Kidd to take a 2-0 series lead after winning the opener, 89-81, on Saturday.

Blazers head coach Nate McMillan was fined $35,000 by the NBA for criticizing officials following a 29-13 free-throw attempt discrepancy in favor of the Mavericks over the weekend.

The posturing appeared to pay off, as Portland actually shot one more free throw (27-26) on Tuesday, but the Blazers were done in by a fourth quarter that saw them make just four field goals and commit six turnovers. Dallas turned the ball over just six times in the entire game.

“We couldn’t execute down the stretch, and we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” Portland forward Gerald Wallace said. “We’re getting unforced turnovers at crucial points of the game which is giving them momentum.”

LaMarcus Aldridge ended with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Wallace and Andre Miller each scored 18 for Portland, which will host Game 3 on Thursday.

“We know that they (Portland) are a very good home team so we wanted to hold home court here and go up there with a 2-0 lead,” Nowitzki said. “But this series is far from over. They play well at home, they make shots, and they play tough D so we’ve got to be prepared for a tough game on Thursday.”

Stojakovic drained a three-pointer for an 83-76 lead early in the fourth and hit another from long range to make it 88-80 at the midway point.

Wesley Matthews drove in for two to cut the deficit to 90-84 with four minutes left, only to have Nowitzki make two straight baskets around a miss from Aldridge.

After trading free throws, Matthews missed twice on one possession, and Nowitzki iced the game with a long jumper for a 98-86 cushion with two minutes remaining.

The Mavs made just four field goals over the opening nine minutes of the game and found themselves trailing, 17-9, before going on 10-2 burst in a little over a minute to tie the game on Jason Terry’s runner.

Portland held a slim 24-22 lead heading to the second, which featured six lead changes as the Blazers went into the break clinging to a 52-50 edge.

Kidd scored nine points in the first 2:43 of the third stanza to put Dallas on top, 59-55. The hosts led the rest of the frame, though it was a tight 73-72 game at its conclusion.

Game Notes

Portland and Dallas have met in the playoffs three times previously, with the Trail Blazers winning two series…Dallas’ six turnovers tied a franchise postseason low…Portland committed 13 turnovers…Matthews chipped in 13 points for the Blazers…Kidd and Miller each doled out eight assists.

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Mavericks Vs. Blazers, Game 2: Dallas Looks For Series Stranglehold

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers – Dallas leads series 1-0

The Dallas Mavericks’ attempt to win just their second playoff series since their 2006 NBA Finals run continues tonight in Dallas, as the Mavs look to take a 2-0 lead on the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland will try to rebound from a difficult ending that saw them squander a six-point fourth-quarter lead to fall by eight. That fourth quarter was the focus after the game, as Nate McMillan was fined $35,000 for questioning the way the quarter was called. Dallas attempted 19 free throws (and made 18) in the quarter, while the Blazers attempted just two.

Officiating remains the focal point entering Game 2, as Danny Crawford has been summoned to call the game. Crawford’s crews have called 16 straight playoff losses for Dallas, with their last win dating back over a decade to Mark Cuban’s first full season in charge in 2001, when Dallas upset the Utah Jazz in a five-game series.

For the Mavericks’ part, they are not playing into the notion that Crawford’s presence is a negative. Rick Carlisle called Crawford a great official and said that he did not see it as a factor, and team “insiders” whispered today that they expect Crawford to be on his toes so that he does not further the image that he calls games against a specific team.

On the injury front, Dallas does not expect Rodrigue Beaubois available as he recovers from rolling his ankle in the team’s season finale against New Orleans.

You can see the game on TNT and locally on TXA 21 at 8:30 CT. Be sure to check out Mavs Moneyball to release your game stress with other fans, and don’t forget to bring your Danny Crawford dart board.

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Uh Oh, Danny Crawford Is Coming To Town

Tom Ziller of SB Nation notes that Danny Crawford is officiating tonight’s Game 2 in Dallas. In case you’ve forgotten since last year, the Mavericks are 1-16 in playoff games with Crawford on the crew. Most of them have been blowout losses. Is this a move on the NBA’s part to make right on the 19-2 Dallas free throw advantage in the fourth quarter of Game 1 that Nate McMillan found unfair? At the very least, as Ziller says, the NBA doesn’t care about what teams think about referee nemeses.

There are two things at work here. First, the NBA does not care about specific referee complaints from teams or their fans. Bill Kennedy in Boston, Bennett Salvatore and Danny Crawford in Dallas, Joey Crawford in San Antonio, Dick Bavetta anywhere but New York and Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter what history there is, the NBA will assign whoever it wants wherever it wants.

Add the Crawford hurdle to the Mavs’ recent history in Game 2’s, where they have lost their last four by an average of 17 points, and you have quite the uphill battle for Dallas tonight.

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki Carry Mavericks Past Blazers In Game One

The Mavericks gave 38-year-old point guard Jason Kidd a pair of games off late in the season to rest his legs. At least for one night it seems to have paid off. Kidd led Dallas to an 85-81 win in Game One of their series with the Portland Trailblazers with 24 points, five rebounds and four assists. He hit a career high six three-pointers.

Dallas jumped out to a ten-point halftime lead but with Kidd on the bench saw the Blazers battle back, hold the Mavericks scoreless for 11 minutes, and take a five-point lead early in the fourth. The Mavs’ run started immediately upon his return, as he fed Dirk Nowitzki for 12 straight Dallas points. Nowitzki entered the final quarter with just ten points, but he lived on the line late, going 13-13 overall, and finished with 28. He did have six turnovers, accounting for almost half of the Mavericks’ total.

After appearing to lose their legs in the third quarter, Dallas was the more aggressive team late, as they hit 17 of 18 free throw attempts in the fourth, while Portland attempted just two. Settling for perimeter shots, the Blazers were also cold from outside the arc, finishing just 2-16.

The Blazers were led by 27 from LaMarcus Aldridge, 18 from Andre Miller and 14 from Nicolas Batum. No other Portland player hit double figures. They still outshot Dallas overall, 46% to 41%.

Game Two is Tuesday night at 8:30 CT in Dallas.

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Mavericks, Blazers Locked In Tight Battle Heading To Fourth Quarter

A see-saw affair in Dallas heads to the final quarter with the Dallas Mavericks clinging to a 61-57 lead. A 26-15 second quarter gave Dallas a ten-point halftime lead, but a late Portland run closed the margin.

Jason Kidd has led the way for Dallas, hitting for 19 through three quarter, including five three-pointers. He also has four assists, four rebounds and two steals. The Blazers have held Dirk Nowitzki to 5-16 shooting and just ten points.

LaMarcus Aldridge has 21 for Portland, ten of those on alley-oops. Andre Miller has added 16, and Marcus Camby has 17 boards.

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Blazers Lead Mavericks 22-21 After First Period

The Portland Trailblazers won the battle of pace in the first period of Game One, holding the score into the low 20’s and working back from an early deficit to lead 22-21.

LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 11 points, while Jason Kidd jumped out to a quick offensive start with eight points for the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki added six for Dallas, but the Blazers also coaxed three turnovers from the seven-footer.

Wesley Matthews and Jason Terry each collected two fouls. Terry played just 1:45 before picking up the foul trouble.

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2011 NBA Playoffs Game One: Mavericks Vs. Trail Blazers

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trailblazers

The Dallas Mavericks begin their pursuit of an NBA championship tonight as the third-seeded Mavericks host the sixth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

The Mavericks went 57-25 in the regular season, a mark that included an extended absence from star Dirk Nowitzki early on in the year. Despite this, Dallas tied Los Angeles for the second best record in the Western Conference, but lost the tiebreaker by virtue of being a wild card team and not a division winner - which the Lakers were. 

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks this year in points per game, posting 23 points per game as the Mavericks averaged 100.2 points per game on the season. Tyson Chandler led the team in rebounds and blocks, averaging 9.4 rebounds per game and 1.1 blocks per game. Jason Kidd led the team in assists and steals per game, with 8.2 and 1.7 respectively. 

The Mavericks will look to take a commanding lead early in the series. Portland is a poor road team, going 18-23 on the road this season. The Mavericks went 29-12 at home in Dallas.

For a comprehensive series preview, be sure to check out Maurice London's breakdown of the series.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. EST, 8:30 p.m. CST. Televised coverage can be found on ESPN.

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NBA Playoff Schedule 2011: Mavericks Vs. Blazers Begins Saturday Night

The NBA has set dates and times for the first four games of the series between the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers. The series will open up on ESPN Saturday night at 8:30 CT. It is the only Western Conference game on the slate Saturday. TNT will carry games 2-4 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (April 23), as well as a Game 7 if necessary. 

Mavericks vs. Blazers (all times Central)

Game 1: Sat., April 16 in Dallas, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2: Tue., April 19 in Dallas, 8:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3: Thu., April 21 in Portland, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Sat., April 23 in Portland, 4 p.m., TNT
Game 5: Mon., April 25 in Dallas, TBD
Game 6: Thu., April 28 in Portland, TBD
Game 7: Sat., April 30 in Dallas, TBD, TNT

The NBA playoffs open Saturday at noon with the Bulls and Pacers. See the entire first round schedule here and here.

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