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.”
“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.
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.