The Portland Trail Blazers attempted to cross a volcano in a slipper tonight, facing Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in a game that meant something to Dallas, but not much to Portland. The Blazers landed by the early 20’s, then watched the gap widen more and more until it reached astronomical proportions. Portland has been outdone in every aspect of the game. Doncic ended up scoring 39. The Blazers only put 3 players in the double digits. These players combined for 42 of them. That pretty much sums up the evening, as the Blazers lost 128-78.
The Blazers narrowly avoided becoming the opponent in the biggest victory in Mavericks history by one point. Portland lost by 50. Dallas’ record is 53.
The Blazers and Mavs spent the opening possessions of the game scoring goals at a football-like pace. The Blazers were right on goal, perhaps, 32 points in Toy After the first few minutes. The Mavericks weren’t much better, but Doncic looked like he was playing around, taking shots when he cared about it, or trying to make great passes. It was a daemon waiting for spring if needed.
It wasn’t really necessary for the Dallas star to go out of business. The Blazers provided all the assists the Mavericks needed in the form of transitions. Dallas celebrated barren periods of almost unopposed buckets as the Blazers passed the ball ten times simply to force a shot against a competing defense.
I wish I could report improved flow as the quarter progressed, but…no. These transitional buckets make the Mavericks rolling and comfortable. Then they shot three-pointers against the Portland defense freely and easily. The Blazers scored 13 goals in this period, and Dallas 36. Getting a double in the first quarter is one thing. Getting triple is kind of…wow.
The Blazers pounded the ball inside in the second half with Reggie Perry and Drew Upbanks. This at least started their recording. The Mavericks didn’t seem to particularly mind. Their lead was hovering around 20, which was just fine. The biggest excitement was Luka Doncic’s acquisition of a technical inter-quarter (complaining about the lack of contact in the first period bell). This technique would keep him out of Dallas’ final season, as he exceeded the technique limit before being suspended.
The Mavericks were oblivious enough to allow Portland to drop in on a few breaks. Otherwise, the Blazers would have scored nearly zero points in the mid-ranges of the quarter. In the half-court attack, they succumbed to a bad practice they avoided for much of the season: people looking for their own shots regardless of quality. On the other hand, the spin rate spread on pass attempts suggests that the iso ball was probably the best solution.
No matter how many goals they scored – which weren’t many – Portland’s home defense put it all back together and then a bit. Dwight Powell has taken it out on a regular basis. Dallas also had a lot of offensive rebounds. By the late minutes of the period, the situation was completely awkward. Dallas led 68-44 in the half
Portland’s offensive didn’t improve in the third quarter, but Dallas certainly did. Doncic hit the triple in the first half of the period. (He hit four more in the latter half.) Dallas hit 7 of his first 10 three-point attempts in this period. Portland’s defense looked nimble as 76-year-old Vince McMahon shone off Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 38.
Doncic will end up scoring 25 goals in third place. That’s the same amount that Portland scored as a team. The Mavericks advanced 107-69, moving to fourth place.
Was Portland ready for a huge comeback? Well, they went goalless in the first four minutes of the fourth. So… no? I do not think so.
Stay tuned for the analyzes from the evening, the next upcoming!
The Blazers go home in 82nd place. And a final. Game of the Season Sunday 6:30 p.m. vs Utah Jazz.