Dame saves the Blazers in Dallas, 121-118

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Blazers headed out for a seven-game road stretch starting in Dallas, where they faced the blazing hot Mavericks and MVP candidate Luka Doncic.


Dallas: Luka Doncic, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Kristaps Porzingis

Portland: Damian Lillard, Gary Trent Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington, Enes Kanter

Image via Trail Blazers (used with permission)

Image via Trail Blazers (used with permission)

Game Recap

First Quarter

The Blazers burst out to a 14-8 lead, led by Dame going at the Mavs’ defense and scoring from all three areas of the half-court (a layup, midrange jumper, and three-pointer).

Nassir Little checked in and hit a three with his first touch. If he can pair a serious spot-up threat with his defensive length, he’ll be a valuable rotation piece later on in the season.

Kanter and Finney-Smith got into a tête-à-tête under the basket while fighting for a rebound, and the referees reviewed the incident to assess double-technicals. Kanter won the jump ball and Anfernee Simons hit a catch-and-shoot three.

Dame was running the show with nine points, five assists, and three rebounds; but he picked up his second foul on a stayed-hand call against Luka with 20 seconds left in the half.

Melo got to his spot a couple times early on, but he did get called for an offensive foul on his third attempt. He finished the quarter with an emphatic dunk to give the Blazers a 34-25 lead.

Second Quarter

Dallas finally hit their first three to cut the lead to six early in the second quarter. Harry Giles was struggling mightily with Porzingis and Kleber. The two Mavs bigs scored 15 of Dallas’ 17 points in the first half of the second.

Melo continued gathering real points and hustle points, leading Portland’s prolific bench to a big first half.

Dame was getting increasingly frustrated, but Ant kept hitting threes, Kanter kept backing down Porzingis, and the Blazers kept extending their lead.

Luka hit three straight threes to end the half, while Dame’s frustration boiled over into a technical foul. He was getting considerably less calls and more contact than usual. The Mavs took a narrow lead into the break.

Third Quarter

Robert Covington came into his own in the third, totaling 10 points and three steals in the quarter alone.

Derrick Jones was making his presence felt, and he helped the Blazers score a massive 45 points in the third.

Dame heated up and reached 27 by the end of the third. The Blazers were making strides on both ends.

The Blazers took a commanding 12-point lead into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

Both teams traded shots to start the final quarter, but things cooled off as the baskets shut.

Jones Jr. Kept being an animal on both ends of the court, diving for offensive rebounds and making defensive stops.

Despite the double-digit lead, Dallas wasn’t done. They put a 12-0 run together to pull within one.

With under two minutes left, the game finished like this:

  • Dame got to the rim and rolled it in to go up three

  • Porzingis was fouled at the rim by Covington—a call Stotts challenged and lost

  • Kristaps made both free throws, 114-113 Blazers (1:22)

  • Jalen Brunson was called for a reach-in foul on Dame, who made both foul shots (1:06)

  • Finney-Smith hit a three from the corner off a fantastic spinning drive from Luka (:49.5)

  • Dame answered with an insane step-back three over Finney-Smith to re-take the lead (32.8)

  • Luka got a quick two (:26.6)

  • DJJ got a great pass from Melo and scored at the rim (:6.9)

  • Luka missed a WIDE open three and the rebound went off Brunson as he punched it out of Gary’s hands (:3.0)

  • Portland inbounded the ball and the game ended! 121-118 Blazers.

Final Thoughts

This was another enormous win for the Blazers. Usually I add the qualifier that this “was a team we should beat,” but breaking the Mavs’ four-game win streak is nothing to ignore.

This was also important for momentum. The Blazers have now won six out of their last seven, including four straight, and head into this road trip with something to prove.

Player(s) of the Game

It’s Dame. That step-back three late in the game was absolutely icy. 34 points and 11 rebounds? Undeniable.

Next Up

Portland have another big Western Conference matchup in two nights versus Oklahoma City at 5pm.

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