Quantcast 2011 NBA Western Conference Playoffs: Round One - Dallas vs Portland

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Western Conference First Round

Western Conference First Round Game 3 - Portland 97, Dallas 92 – Mavericks lead series, 2-1

 

The Portland Trail Blazers finally won a fourth quarter. After failing to do so in either Game 1 or Game 2 of their opening round series against the Dallas Mavericks, it was now or never time for the Blazers in Game 3. During an impressive burst in the first portion of the final frame, Portland put its stamp on the contest and got back into the series.

Leading by just two points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Blazers put together a 12-2 spurt to push their lead to 87-74 with 8:04 to play. It was the Nicholas Batum and Gerald Wallace show. Batum had five points while Wallace hit a short jumper, a long three-pointer, and two free throws. Portland scored regularly and looked very comfortable shooting the ball in its home building, the Rose Garden. On a night when Indiana and Philadelphia failed to claim essential season-sustaining victories, the Blazers were able to do the deed, giving hoopheads the expectation that this might indeed be the long series of the entire first round.

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Credit the Mavs for not giving up, though. With Dallas trailing 95-87 with 1:58 to play, Dirk Nowitzki hit a free-throw and jumper while Jason Kidd made what looked to be a three-pointer (on a third camera angle, in defense of the referees) to cut the Portland edge to just two points with 12 seconds remaining. A video review, however, changed Kidd’s jumper to a two-pointer, subsequently giving the Blazers a more comfortable three point lead. Portland guard Andre Miller hit two free throws, however, to put the game out of reach. Even if Kidd’s shot had been ruled a three, Portland would have owned a two-possession advantage heading into the final 10 seconds of play.

The two teams had terrific first halves at the offensive end. In the second half, the reality of the game flow wasn’t much different. Both squads shot 48 percent or better and each made at least eight from the three-point line. Jason Terry had 29 points, including five 3s off the bench, for Dallas. Nowitzki had 25 points.

 

 

Wesley Matthews, who had struggled in his two previous games, broke out of his shell early for Portland. Matthews hit four 3-pointers in the first frame and went on to score a team-high 25 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points while Brandon Roy shook off the injury bug to score a badly-needed 16 points in just 24 minutes of action.

Game on, series on. We’ll see if Portland can hold serve yet again in Game 4. Then this series, expected to be a long one, will live up to last week’s advance hype.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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