(Sports Network) – Jason Terry hit several key shots down the stretch and finished with 18 points, as the Dallas Mavericks held on for an 84-81 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center.
DeShawn Stevenson contributed 18 points and Tyson Chandler finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, which was playing again without superstar Dirk Nowitzki, who missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right knee.
The Mavericks have won two straight and improved to 19-4 in their last 23 games overall.
Dallas got a bit of bad news prior to the game, as forward Caron Butler is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on Tuesday to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon, which was suffered in Saturday’s loss to Milwaukee.
LaMarcus Aldridge ended with 28 points and 10 boards, but missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer for the Trail Blazers, who had won two straight and six of eight coming into the contest. Marcus Camby finished with a game-high 20 rebounds to go with 10 points in defeat.
Trailing 72-71 with 6:13 to play in the fourth, Patrick Mills’ driving lay in, a turnaround hook shot and two free throws from Aldridge put Portland in front 77-72 with nearly 4 1/2 minutes left.
Dallas then responded with a Chandler layup and corner three from Terry to even things at 77-77 with 2:34 on the clock. After a Trail Blazers time out and missed three, Terry connected on a midrange jumper to give the Mavericks a two-point advantage a minute later.
Stevenson and Wesley Matthews exchanged threes before Terry hit a pullback jumper for an 84-81 game with only 12.9 seconds left.
Out of a Portland timeout following the basket, the Blazers nearly turned the ball over, but it went out of bounds back to the visitors with 3.7 seconds left. Aldridge received the inbound pass on the right side and threw up an off-balanced attempt from beyond the arc that was well off the mark as time expired.
“The one thing we can do as team is get better defensively,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Other than the first few minutes of the game, I thought we really battled, we played a really gritty type of game, and that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
After each side played to a 24-24 tie in the opening quarter, Jason Kidd’s three-pointer with 4:28 left before the half put the Mavericks up 38-33.
Down by four, Aldridge pulled the Trail Blazers even at 40-all with a jumper and dunk with 9.9 seconds remaining. However, Stevenson’s was fouled from beyond the arc just prior to the buzzer and made all three at the stripe to give Dallas the edge heading into the break.
The back-and-forth battle continued throughout the third with neither side able to pull away. Then tied at 56-all after a Terry jumper with 3:26 left in the period, the lead exchanged hands before Stevenson’s driving layup and free throw had the Mavs up 62-60 after three quarters.
Portland has now dropped 13 of its last 15 against the Mavericks in Dallas…The Mavericks, who shot 42.9 percent from the field, improved to 14-6 at home this season, while Portland fell to 6-14 on the road…The Blazers made 41.8 percent of their shots.