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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.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.