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

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Western Conference First Round

Western Conference First Round Game 5 - Dallas 93, Portland 82 – Mavericks lead series, 3-2

 

After a meltdown of epic proportions in Game 4, the Dallas Mavericks knew they needed to find not just a spark in Game 5, but the toughness and tunnel-vision focus they needed to see through the job to its completion.

Enter Tyson Chandler, a man who played with the kind of kamikaze passion that’s been all too absent from a fragile franchise in postseasons past.

Chandler was simply everywhere on the floor Monday night at the American Airlines Center, willing the Mavericks to a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in a season-defining, must-have game.

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It’s regularly essential for a home team to claim Game 5 of a tied series, but it was even more urgent for Dallas to take this tilt after blowing a 23-point lead in Game 4 last Saturday. A loss to Portland on home hardwood would have left Dallas defeated, dented and deflated heading to Portland for Game 6 on Thursday. One year after bowing to the San Antonio Spurs in six games in the first round – losing Game 6 on the road in the Alamo City – Dallas simply could not have afforded to trail this series 3-2 when it boarded its next flight to the Pacific Northwest. Losing was not an option in this game… not if Dallas expected to move to the next round and gear up for a likely fight with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It’s quite clear that among the many players in owner Mark Cuban’s palatial dressing room, Chandler got the message more than anyone else. Dallas regained an edge in this up-and-down series because it owned the glass, and there was only one source of that dominance: Chandler, the former New Orleans Hornet who came good when his team needed something special.

 

 

The Mavericks fed off of Chandler’s energy in the post and the glass all evening long. Chandler scored 14 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, an astounding 13 of those on the offensive glass, a postseason record. It simply looked and felt as if Dallas had something to prove. The message was loud and clear, with Chandler’s voice booming from the megaphone of his backboard boldness and brilliance.

Nursing a 57-54 lead with 5:22 left in the third quarter, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined to score 10 points over the next 1:40 to push the Dallas lead to 11. By the end of the quarter, Dallas had built 76-62 lead. After blowing a 23 point lead just two days ago, Dallas wasn’t about to let it happen again. The Mavericks continued the pressure in the final stanza. In the end, the final score was much closer than the flow of the game showed.

Nowitzki finished with a team-high 25 points for the Mavs. Terry had 20 points off the bench. Both shot 8-of-18 from the field. It was the rebounding prowess of Chandler and Co. which made the difference. The Mavericks out-rebounded the Blazers 49-38 and had double the number of offensive rebounds. That is how teams can win a game in which they shoot just 3-of-17 from the three-point line as Dallas did.

LaMarcus Aldridge had his worst game of the playoffs for Portland, shooting just 6-of-15 from the field and scoring 12 points. Brandon Roy, the hero of Game 4, was unable to get anything going offensively for the Blazers, a reflection of a body that has betrayed him and won’t be able to rise to the occasion on a nightly basis.

The home team has yet to lose a game during the series and Portland will hope to continue the trend in Game 6 on Thursday.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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