The Mavericks did not get off to the sharpest start with a turnover on Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler missing a pair of free throws. Dallas has not fallen into an early deficit, though, and has kept pace with Portland through the first half of the first quarter. With 5:28 remaining, the teams are tied at 10. Neither team has led by more than two points.
Mark Cuban has bitten his tongue many times in recent
seasons and even in the playoffs. But he stay quiet any longer before Game 5 on
Speaking in measured, calm tones, Cuban said the offensive foul
called on Dirk Nowitzki should have been a blocking call that would have given
Nowitzki a chance for a three-point play with 2:16 to play that would have put
the Mavericks ahead by nine points.
Instead, it was a turnover and the Blazers scored on their
next possession to make it 80-76.
“Yeah, absolutely,’’ Cuban said about
whether the referee’s call was wrong. “What are you going to do.
Once you go up, the guy can’t step in front of you. He has to be set
before you go up. It’s a tough call, though. It’s not a shock that
somebody misses it because it’s a very tough call. That’s the way
“If we get that basket and it’s nine and we get
the turnover instead of a foul, maybe it’s 11 and we’re having a
totally different conversation. That’s just the way the game
Cuban said the Mavericks turned that call and numerous
others into the league’s office, but no matter what they say, it
won’t change the outcome or what happened as the Mavericks lost a
23-point lead in the final 13 minutes.
It’s difficult to pin that sort of meltdown on
officiating, but Cuban said the call on Nowitzki, as well as a call on Tyson
Chandler when he picked up his fifth foul on a loose-ball play that could have
been a costly Portland turnover, were particularly damaging to the Mavericks.
The Chandler call also was forwarded to the league.
Cuban said he probably can expect a fine coming from the
league for his commentary, even though it was not delivered in bombastic
Tough, physical play is something the Mavericks
haven’t shied away from in this series, but it didn’t happen enough
during the fourth-quarter meltdown of Game 4.
When Brandon Roy and others were slicing through the
Mavericks’ defense, there were chances to send messages, coach Rick
“There are opportunities to take hard fouls that
we’ve not taken advantage of,’’ he said. “We’re
going to have to be more physical than we were in Game 4. It’s all about
playoff basketball. It’s not about hurting anybody or anything like that.
But in a physical series, you got to be physical.’’
In particular, Carlisle said giving center Tyson Chandler
some assistance is crucial. Chandler has been working hard against LaMarcus
Aldridge, whose production has tailed off in the series somewhat after a
monster start. His scoring has dropped each game.
“He’s guarding a big guy who steps out to 20
feet and shoots the ball,’’ Carlisle said of Aldridge.
“Sometimes he’s gravitating a little bit away from the basket. But
we want his focus to be on Aldridge. And when he has to move away from the
basket, our help has to come from different people. He’s worked extremely
hard. It’s been solid. It’s a challenge to cut down on fouls. But I
thought he did a better job in Game 4.’’
It wasn’t a referee’s call or his team’s
admittedly turn-your-eyes-away showing in the fourth quarter that had owner
Mark Cuban leaving the court with 39.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“I had to (go to the bathroom),’’ Cuban
said today via email. “I
couldn’t hold it in any longer.’’
when a man’s gotta go, a man’s gotta go.
large diet cokes during the game will do that to you,’’ Cuban
had left the court through the tunnel near the Mavericks’ bench. He departed
when Portland had taken an 84-82 lead and the referees were reviewing a play
during a timeout. Cuban made a beeline to the Mavericks’ locker room. He
did not discuss his leaving the court or anything else with media members
before leaving the building.
Everybody connected with the NBA has become entranced by the
Mavericks’ series against Portland. That’s how quickly it can
capture the imagination of people.
Had the Mavericks not coughed up the 23-point lead on
Saturday, this series would be 3-1 and the Blazers would be an afterthought at
Instead, it’s Game On.
As Charles Barkley of TNT emphasized, “it’s
going to be interesting. I can’t wait for that next game with Dallas.’’
The problem is that the 23-point lead wasn’t the only
big edge the Mavericks surrendered already in this series.
Had they closed out that game and gone up 3-1 instead of
falling into a 2-2 tie, the Mavericks could be on the verge of closing out the
first-round series with Portland on Monday and would have at least five days of
rest to look forward to before the second round begins.
Instead, they will play at least until Thursday and would
most likely have a game on the weekend, whether it’s against the Blazers
in Game 7 or the Lakers or Hornets in Game 1 of the second round.
Basically, the old team is going to have precious little
time to catch its breath.
Misery loves company, even if it’s company that you
don’t particularly like.
So maybe the Mavericks and Spurs can console each other with
some sympathetic text messages.
The Mavericks are stuck in a 2-2 series with Portland, but
that actually sounds good (even though we all know it isn’t) compared to
the Spurs, who slipped into a 1-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies on
And by the way, how weird is it that the Mavericks-Blazers
series was finished with Game 4 before the Spurs and Grizz started Game 3.
The last time I checked, Dallas and Portland are about 1600
miles apart. That’s nearly a four-hour flight going and over three coming
back. The Spurs and Grizzlies are separated by only a 75-minute flight that
crosses no time zone boundaries.
Anyway, the Mavericks and Spurs once looked like they
belonged among the Western Conference elite.
Now, they just look like they’re in deep trouble.
It’s going to be interesting to see if both of these
Texas titans get their act together quickly enough to emerge from their respect
Right now, you’d have to say that there’s a fair
chance that one or both of them is out before the next week ends.
Of all the stinky numbers from the fourth quarter of Game 4,
one stands out above all others.
The Mavericks were outscored 18-0 in the paint in the fourth
Portland had scored just 16 points in the paint through
three quarters. Then, they simply gouged the Mavericks, who clearly thought the
game was in the bag so they could forget about having to play any real defense
down the stretch.
That’s how you get outscored 40-15 to lose by two
“We just couldn’t get any stops,’’
said Dirk Nowitzki. “That’s what it came down to. We played a great
defensive game in the first and third (quarters). It’s on
The Mavericks could have done a lot of things differently.
Rick Carlisle took blame for not trapping Brandon Roy, or switching to a zone
– anything that could have slowed down the Portland guard, who had 18
fourth-quarter points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Roy, by the way, also had four assists in the fourth
quarter, giving him a hand in 26 of Portland’s 35 points in the period.
“Afterwards, you’re a lot smarter,’’
Nowitzki said about switching up defenses. “But that doesn’t help
anybody right now. We got to stay positive.’’
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Mavericks had crushed the Portland Trail Blazers’ will.
And that wasn’t enough.
In fact, the Mavericks may have to start writing a will for this season after a complete and total collapse to lose Game 4 84-82 Saturday afternoon at the Rose Garden.
Brandon Roy scored 18 fourth quarter points as the Mavericks were beaten 35-15 in the final 12 minutes and 40-15 going back to late in the third.
The series is tied 2-2, but it seems like a lot worse than that for the Mavericks, who should have been home free after a remarkable third quarter.
The Blazers shot 3-of-18 in the third quarter. The Mavericks had a 15-2 blitz early in the quarter to run up a 54-39 advantage. It reached 64-41 before the Blazers finally realized they were getting what in NBA parlance is known as punked.
To their credit, they weren’t completely finished. A flurry early in the fourth quarter chopped the Mavericks’ lead to 73-62 as Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez got going offensively. Roy’s 16-footer with 5:40 to go finally knocked the Mavericks lead under 10 points at 75-66.
Everything was going through Dirk Nowitzki offensively by that point and when he hit Jason Terry in the corner for a shot-clock-beating 3-pointer with 3:33 to go, the Mavericks were up 80-70. At the moment, it looked like a game-saver. Not even close.
A heartbeat later, it was 80-74 and the Blazers had the ball after Nowitzki was called for a charging foul. LaMarcus Aldridge scored and after Jason Kidd turned the ball over, Roy hit a 20-footer to make it 80-78.\
Shawn Marion, who was having a solid all-around game, then was the focal point of two plays. First, he converted a short floater, but that four-point lead was quickly erased when Roy rose up from 3-point land, drilled the basket and was fouled by Marion. The rare four-point play made it 82-82.
After Terry threw up a bad 3-pointer, the ball went out of bounds and the officiating crew reviewed the play and gave the Blazers possession.
Roy struck again, banking in a shot from the paint for an 84-82 lead with 39.2 seconds to go.
The Mavericks had two chances to tie or win. First, Kidd’s 3-pointer from an open spot on the left wing was way off. Then after the Mavericks stopped Roy’s jumper, they got a decent 3-point look just before the buzzer, but Terry’s shot clanged off the rim.
That means Game 5 Monday becomes huge for the Mavericks, who now know they will be making a return trip to Portland for Game 6.