DALLAS – For a few moments Saturday night against Portland, the Dallas Mavericks’ plans of going into the All-Star break armed with a string of wins looked very bleak.
The Trail Blazers led the Mavs 94-83 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Then, Dallas caught fire and outscored Portland 28-7 and won 111-101 in overtime in one of the most amazing comebacks during Rick Carlisle’s seven-year tenure coaching the Mavs.
"We talked about getting some wins before the All-Star break and it didn't look good there for a while,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "I think they were up (11) with a couple minutes left and I'm proud of the guys on how we fought, how we stepped it up defensively.
"They made timely shots, so I liked our defensive intensity there in the fourth and hitting big shots."
Nowitzki said the presence of Blazers center Robin Lopez thwarted efforts the Mavs had of trying to get inside the paint for some buckets. Lopez, however, got into foul trouble, thus the middle opened up continuously for the Mavs, who wound up outscoring Portland in the paint 46-44.
"Lopez is a monster going straight up there and we just couldn't finish the way we normally do, so you have to give them credit,’’ Nowitzki said. "They're a good defensive team and they were doing some switching on high pick-and-rolls and I was able to take an advantage on a couple of those high post (isolations).
"But I really thought our defense down the stretch really won us the game, contesting shots. And (Damian) Lillard had the (isolation) to win it and I thought Monta (Ellis) did a really good job forcing a step-back jumper.’’
The Mavs will take a two-game win streak into tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
After tonight, the Mavs will host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday before resting for the All-Star break.