Well, that was certainly convincing.
Dirk was Dirk... again. It was another uncharacteristically poor shooting performance, but he delivered in the fourth quarter with 14 points, en route to a 33 point night. When it was clear his shot was not falling, Dirk attacked the basket and his aggressiveness paid off, going to the line 17 times.
But that's what MVP's do.
Jason Kidd has another fantastic game, finishing with 18 points and eight assists. The time off at the end of the season seems to have done wonders and the jumpshot looks beautiful coming out of his hands right now. Of note, Kidd had two games of rest before game two. That will change as the Mavericks play every other day the rest of the series. Will he be able to respond with one days rest between games? Who knows. But if keeps up this production, it could be a short series for the Trail Blazers.
Peja Stojakovic put on a show going off for 21 points on 8/13 shooting including 5/10 from three. The Mavericks needed a second scorer to step up with Terry struggling yet again in the playoffs and Peja provided the boost they needed.
Limiting the Blazers' alley-oops was a major concern heading into the game. The Mavericks had worked on ways to prevent them in practice over the past two days, and the early results are positive. The Blazers were limited to two alley-oops in the game, compared to six in the previous game.
It was also another stout defensive performance by the Mavericks. After limiting the Blazers to 81 points in the first game, the Mavericks held them to 89 points.The Mavericks forced the Trial Blazers into numerous shot clock violations and the defensive rotations were outstanding. This effort also included a blocked shot by Dirk Nowitzki on Lamarcus Aldridge.Who saw that one coming? A minor flaw in their performance was the tendency to forget to cover the Blazers after a basket on on a leak out. This led to a handful of easy baskets (mainly by Gerald Wallace) and if it is not corrected, could lead to trouble in Portland.
The Mavericks' bench once gain showed it's superiority outscoring the Blazers' bench 39-11. Nicholas Batum scored 10 of those points. Brandon Roy was ineffective for the second straight game and Rudy Fernandez provided no offensive spark. The Blazers are basically relying on a six man rotation to get them through the playoffs, that can not continue if they hope to make this a series again.
The Mavericks went 27 minutes without a turnover, including the entire second half. And by the way, that included a portion in the second half with Barea running the point and Stojakovic and Haywood on the floor together with him extended period of time.
The Mavericks have a 2-0 series lead for the first time since 2006 and teams that win the first two games of a series advance to the next round 94% of the time.
Game three is in Portland on Thursday.