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Blazers pull off tight comeback win in Dallas

The Portland Trail Blazers (2-1) defeated the Dallas Mavericks (2-1) 121-119 on the road Sunday night thanks to a Damian Lillard drive and coach’s challenge by Terry Stotts. Portland trailed by 19 points in the early second quarter, but big contributions from CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard, and Rodney Hood kept them in the game. A shoulder injury to Zach Collins in the second half made things even more interesting, but the Blazers eventually got things going on both ends, taking the lead late in the fourth quarter.

Starting lineups:

Portland: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Hassan Whiteside

Dallas: Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright, Maxi Kleber, Kristaps Porzingis

Mario Hezonja, 44, tries to avoid contact with Luka Doncic, 77, on October 27, 2019. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

Who stood out?

CJ McCollum scored 35 points on 50% shooting from the field and 8-8 on free throws. Lillard had 28 points and five assists on 10/20 shooting. Rodney Hood had 14 points in the first quarter and finished with 20 on 8/12 from the field (including 3/3 from three). Hassan Whiteside had six points and 14 rebounds in 26 minutes, although he did foul out with a couple minutes remaining.

Luka Doncic put up 29 points, nine assists, and 12 rebounds, but on 36% shooting. Kristaps Porzingis recorded 32 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Maxi Kleber added 14 points, most of which came in the first quarter. Dallas’ bench had 32 points as well.

First quarter

Momentum Plays:

  • Porzingis and-one against Collins on 1st possession
  • Whiteside called for a jump ball on a ball he thought he stripped; leads to aggression from Collins
  • Kleber finishes alley-oop dunk from Doncic
  • Hood ties it at 25 with 3:19 left in the quarter
  • Porzingis block leads to tip dunk with 1 minute left, followed by a Curry three and a Luka dunk to cap a 15-0 run and a 15-point (40-25) lead for the Mavs.

Maxi Kleber was the unlikely hero of the first quarter for the Mavericks. The German forward set wide screens, hit a pair of corner threes, and had an emphatic dunk that gave the Mavs energy in the first period. The Mavericks also enjoyed 13 free throw attempts in the first, compared to Portland’s two. However, Rodney Hood’s composed scoring kept the Blazers within reaching distance for most of the quarter.

Second quarter

Momentum plays:

  • Kristaps hits back-to-back 3s to open the quarter—the latter “near logo Lillard land,” as Lamar Hurd called it
  • CJ has a few straight scoring possessions three minutes into the quarter
  • Dallas scores a quick eight straight points out of a timeout
  • Doncic fakes out Whiteside, scoring amidst “oohs and aahs” from the home crowd (2:40)
  • Hustle play – Lillard strips Doncic, leads to Hood dunk in transition

CJ kept the Blazers in the game with 18 points during the second quarter, although Dallas still seemed to be scoring at will. His familiar craftiness helped the Blazers to a 12-0 run, cutting the Mavs lead to four points at one point. The Blazers finished the half with 14 fastbreak points, while Dallas’ bench already bad 18.

Third quarter

Momentum plays:

  • Doncic draws a foul on Collins; gets 3 FTs—Zach is visibly frustrated after his 3rd foul (8:55)
  • Doncic passes to Kleber to Wright for three—great ball movement by Dallas
  • Doncic hits a big three out of a timeout to go up 10
  • Bazemore tough and-1 to pull within two
  • Lillard rips the ball away and finishes a tough shot at the rim (5:10)
  • Collins heads to the locker room immediately after a rebound attempt, holding his left shoulder and not moving his left arm at all (2:01)

Lillard took over in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the first three minutes of the half. He totaled 19 points in the third quarter alone. The Portland defense finally contained Dallas as well, allowing only 24 points.

Zach Collins, 33, grabs his shoulder after going for a rebound against the Dallas Mavericks on October 27th, 2019. He was subbed out and helped to the locker room immediately. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

Fourth quarter

Momentum plays:

  • Bazemore’s corner transition three takes the first lead of the game for Portland
  • McCollum passes Wesley Matthews on Blazers all-time three-pointers list
  • Seth Curry‘s pull-up three ties it up at 107 (6:41)
  • Porzingis scores an and-1 dunk on Whiteside (his fifth foul)
  • Whiteside slams a one-handed put-back to take the lead back and gets a tough board on the other end before fouling out
  • McCollum hits a classic tough jumper (1:30)
  • Big defensive stop on Dallas’ inbounds pass to stay within one(:40)
  • Blazers take the lead off a Lillard drive on Doncic (:26.8)
  • Doncic misses a three, Dorian Finney-Smith snags the board, Dame is called for a reach against him, Stotts challenges and wins a jump ball(:08.6)

This was the first instance of a coach’s challenge in a critical game situation this year. With 8.6 seconds remaining, Terry Stotts risked his final timeout to challenge a reach-in call against Lillard.

The move proved to be a good one, as the original call was overturned and a jumpball was held at midcourt. With Hassan Whiteside fouled out, Mario Hezonja stepped up against the 7’3″ Kristaps Porzingis for the jump. Porzingis’ tip was controlled by Kent Bazemore, who was fouled with 5 seconds left and split the pair.

With no timeouts, Dallas couldn’t advance the ball fast enough to get a good shot off Bazemore’s second free throw, and the Blazers stole a nervy 2-point win from the Mavericks.

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