for this game

Mavs rally behind Dirk, beat Blazers in opener

Apr 17, 2011 - 5:39 AM Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 of his game-high 28 points in the final quarter, helping Dallas rally past the Portland Trail Blazers, 89-81, in the opener of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Jason Kidd sank six three-point shots on the way to a 24-point night for the third-seeded Mavericks, who trailed by six midway through the fourth. They finished the game on a 23-9 burst. Nowitzki was perfect on 13 foul shots, all of which came in the final quarter.

"We had some guys who didn't play their best games, but Jason Kidd played the game of his year to this point," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Every shot he made, every play he made was absolutely essential for us."

It was a disappointing night for the Portland guard tandem of Wesley Matthews and Brandon Roy. They each scored two points and combined to go 2-of-10 from the field.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 27 points for the Trail Blazers. Marcus Camby had 18 points and Andre Miller scored 18 in defeat.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for Tuesday, again at American Airlines Center.

Portland dominated the paint with a 46-18 scoring advantage. That included a 16-0 difference in the third quarter.

The Mavericks went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal. Nowitzki's fade- away shot gave the hosts a 59-51 lead with 4:38 left in the third, but Portland trimmed the deficit to 61-57 entering the fourth.

Dallas' streak of missed shots went to 10, as the Mavs fell behind in the fourth. Nicolas Batum's jumper capped seven straight Portland points, giving the visitors a 68-63 advantage. His dunk moved the margin to 72-66 with 6:08 left, but the Mavs rallied with an ensuing 11-2 burst, capped by a pair of Nowitzki free throws.

Ahead 82-78 following a pair of Jason Terry free throws with 1 1/2 minutes left, the Mavs caught a couple of breaks. Shawn Marion was called for an away from the play foul, but Roy missed the technical foul shot. Batum was off on a three-point try and Aldridge's follow shot also missed. Portland then lost the ball out of bounds with 1:11 left.

Then came Kidd's huge shot. Nowitzki first missed a fade-away shot, but Tyson Chandler got the offensive board. Kidd drained his attempt from beyond the arc as the shot clock was about to expire with 25.4 seconds left, making the score 85-78.

"We didn't stay close to him (Kidd) and he had an unbelievable night behind the line," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

McMillan also said his team needed to learn how to play through the touch fouls, which contributed to Dallas' 18-1 scoring differential from the free throw line in the final quarter.

It didn't help the Blazers that they were 2-of-16 from beyond the arc, compared to 10-of-19 for Dallas. That included a 6-of-10 effort from Kidd.

"They want me to be aggressive. We all know that Dirk and Jet (Terry) are offensive guys and they put the ball up," Kidd said. "But, in the playoffs you have to have other guys step up and score and I know that our opponents are going to give me that jump shot and I have to be able to knock it down. Tonight was a good example of that."

Portland held a 22-21 edge after one quarter, but Dallas surged to a 47-37 halftime lead.

Game Notes

The Mavericks have lost in the first round of the playoffs three of the last four years, while Portland has lost its last six playoff series, last winning one in 2000, beating Utah in the conference semifinals...Batum had 14 points...This was the most three-pointers Kidd made in a postseason game.