PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 27: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives the ball past Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Gerald Wallace scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and LaMarcus Aldridge netted 18, as the Portland Trail Blazers upended the Dallas Mavericks, 104-96, in a potential Western Conference playoff preview.
The Blazers, currently the No. 6 seed in the West, connected on 53 percent of their shots from the field to win going away against Dallas, which is third in conference standings.
"We had some pretty good ball movement and we made good decisions with our matchups when we had them," said Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
"I think the bottom line is we need consistency defensively," said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle.
Dallas' loss, coupled with the Spurs' win over Phoenix, clinched the Southwest Division title for San Antonio.
Aldridge scored 10 points in the first quarter to pace the Blazers to a 23-17 lead.
The Blazers ended the opening half on a 13-4 run -- with seven points coming from the foul line -- and took a 61-46 cushion into the locker room.
Andre Miller buried a pull-up jumper for a 72-52 lead near the midway point of the third, and Portland answered Dallas' 11-2 run with a nine-point flurry later in the frame.
Rudy Fernandez's baseline slam made it 85-65 in the final minute before Nowitzki's deep jumper beat the buzzer for an 85-67 game.
The Mavs, however, never cut their deficit to single digits in the final 12 minutes.
The teams split the season series, with each winning twice on their home court...Mavericks center Tyson Chandler did not play because of a sore lower back...Portland has won eight straight at Rose Garden...Fernandez ended with 11 points and Miller wound up with 10 to round out Portland's double-digit scorers...Jason Kidd was held scoreless in over 27 minutes.