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Late surge by Mavericks spoils Christmas for Blazers

Dec 26, 2008 - 7:27 AM By James Reddick PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 102-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Jason Terry scored 19 points and Josh Howard added 15 for the Mavericks before being ejected in the third quarter after picking up two technical fouls.

The teams traded baskets up until the 5:00 mark of the fourth, after which the Blazers went cold and the Mavericks seemingly could not miss.

"We tried to make it tough on them," said Dallas guard Jason Kidd, who finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists. "I thought down the stretch, we went with the small lineup and we got some stops."

The Trail Blazers held a 90-87 lead with 6:30 to play, but Kidd's 3-pointer started a 12-2 run, capped by consecutive dunks from Brandon Bass, giving Dallas an insurmountable 99-92 lead.

"We were playing well," Blazers point guard Steve Blake said. "We had things going for us. ... It's frustrating. We had an opportunity and we let it get away from us."

Brandon Roy led five players in double figures with 22 points but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his field goals as Portland scored just 14 points in the final period.

"We've got to go to our best option, and Brandon is our best option," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "If they take that away, other guys have to (score) some points."

"Tonight, we forced Roy into some tough shots," Nowitzki said. "I don't think he ever really got into a rhythm."

Blake scored 14 points and Travis Outlaw and rookie Rudy Fernandez contributed 13 apiece off the bench for the Blazers.

The Mavericks controlled most of the first half as Nowitzki scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

Despite leading by 10 points twice in the second quarter, the Mavericks could not fend off the Blazers' hot shooting. Roy led the way with 15 points in the opening 24 minutes as his team shot 57 percent from the field.

Howard was ejected with 4:41 remaining in a testy third quarter. He was hit with a technical following his flagrant foul on Joel Przybilla and was tossed when he picked up his second technical after continuing to argue with referee Bob Delaney.

Without Howard, the Mavericks' bench stepped up in the fourth quarter. Bass, who entered the game for the first time in the final period, scored eight points in the final 12 minutes, and Jose Juan Barea added six.

"I'm not playing a bunch of guys to keep everybody happy," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is what we need ... guys producing when we need it."

Nowitzki and Carlisle also received technicals in a quarter in which their team was outscored, 25-18.

Fernandez's tip-in off Blake's miss with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter gave the Blazers an 80-77 lead heading into the fourth.

"Portland is a tough team," Nowitzki said. "For us to grind this one out - with Josh being ejected - is really huge. We rose to the occasion."