LA: Despite loss, coming back down 30 shows our strength, resilience
DALLAS -- The Portland Trail Blazers nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback after being down 40-10, their largest deficit of the evening, to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Dallas ended the game on an 11-0 run for the 103-98 win, breaking what was a three-game losing streak.
It was a circus of a game. Portland came out flat and disinterested, it appeared. Leading up to this game, Dallas viewed it as a must-win if they were to be serious about making a strong playoff push.
In the opening quarter, the Mavericks held the Trail Blazers to a season-low, 10-point first quarter outing. Dallas simply put their foot to the pedal and floored it.
“They came out and did what they had to do,” Robin Lopez said. “I think we missed shots early on and they made them. But we fought back and that was good. But we can’t get in big holes like that.”
The officiating was questionable throughout. Dallas didn’t commit a foul, allegedly, until there was 5:16 remaining in the first quarter. There were some questionable no-calls down the stretch that the Trail Blazers found themselves on the wrong end of.
When asked about the officiating, Lopez responded: “Like I said, things went their way.”
Thanks to an 18-point, third quarter explosion by LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished the night with game-highs of 30 points and 17 rebounds, Portland was able to claw back and take the lead in the third quarter. It was a run that saw the Trail Blazers go 44-14 to get the game tied at 67 a piece in a span of 16 minutes.
“LaMarcus went off. We just tried to ride him,” Damian Lillard said.
Freshly activated Thomas Robinson made his return after sitting out the team’s last four games with a patella strain in his left knee. He couldn’t have come back at a better time.
When the team needed a boost, Robinson provided that on both ends of the floor. He looked as if he hadn’t missed a single game. The second year power forward played so well that Head Coach Terry Stotts played him 20 minutes, and in that time, he registered 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
“We needed energy and he came in in the second quarter and gave us a spark and did the same thing in the second half,” Stotts said. “It was good to see because he’d been out a while. He has the ability to provide energy to the game and that’s what he did.”
“I felt good. Everything felt good,” Robinson said. “I was so wrapped up in the game that fatigue didn’t even bother me tonight. We’ll see if I feel it later on.”
Robinson was so into the game, he slipped up and got called for a technical foul four minutes into the fourth quarter with the Trail Blazers up 89-82. But almost immediately, he composed himself and apologized to his teammates, and the ref, who issued the tech.
“It was stupid,” he said. “I shouldn’t have got the tech. I play with emotions, man. It comes out good sometimes and sometimes it comes out bad. It was bonehead, though. I probably could have found another way to express my emotions but that’s who I am. I apologized to my teammates and tried to make the best I could with the ref after that.”
Four good things came out of this loss: Aldridge rediscovered his rhythm, Wesley Matthews found his stroke after a 26-point outing by way of 11-of-19 shooting, Robinson showed no ill effects to his injury and the Trail Blazers never gave up.
They don’t get the first game of this five-game road trip, but they continue to prove that they’re never out of games. It’s going to be a brutal task, this trip. However, it looks like they’re up for it.
“Dallas made no secret, this was a must-win for them and they approached it like that…It’s going to be a dog fight every night,” Stotts said.
Nicolas Batum got elbowed in the nose during the third quarter by guard Monta Ellis. From the looks of it after the game, it appeared to be broken. There was a dint in the center of his nose. He went to get it checked out after the game. The team has not released anything on the severity as of yet.