Dallas Mavericks

Mavs 0-5 start worst in team history, but losing Dirk is worse

Portland guard Damian Lillard (0) scored a game-high 42 points, leading the Blazers to a 105-95 victory at American Airlines Center. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki left the game with a sore Achilles and is expected to miss at least the next week.
Portland guard Damian Lillard (0) scored a game-high 42 points, leading the Blazers to a 105-95 victory at American Airlines Center. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki left the game with a sore Achilles and is expected to miss at least the next week. AP

The Dallas Mavericks made history Friday night. But not the kind of history they’re waving pompoms or going around town bragging about.

For the first time in the Mavs’ 37-year history, they have started a season by losing their first five games. That dubious distinction came about after the Portland Trail Blazers used a fourth-quarter blitz to blaze past the Mavs, 105-95, before a sellout crowd of 19,475 at American Airlines Center.

The loss dropped the Mavs to 0-5 entering Sunday’s 6 p.m. home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Blazers improved to 3-3.

As if the loss to Portland wasn’t bad enough, the Mavs also lost superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki during Friday’s contest for at least the next seven days. Nowitzki played 16 minutes, scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds, but did not play in the second half after developing soreness in his right Achilles.

Nowitzki, who has been trying to shake the soreness in his Achilles since before the season started, was just 2-of-6 from the field and was noticeably not himself while he was on the court.

“He’s going to be out for awhile,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ll update you guys in about seven days.

“He’s not going to play at least until then.”

That means Nowitzki will miss the Milwaukee contest, and road games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. He may not play again until the Mavs visit the New York Knicks on Nov. 14.

“(The injury has) been the same for a week now,” Nowitzki said. “As soon as I go out there and try to push off, show on the pick-and-roll, run backwards, all that stuff is uncomfortable.

“So we decided to just shut it down. It makes no sense to keep trying this for weeks. It hasn’t really gotten better.”

The Mavs fell behind 78-62 midway through the third quarter, but used a blistering 16-1 rally to inch within 79-78 after Salah Mejri scooped in a basket at the outset of the fourth period. But from there, Damian Lillard completely took over.

Lillard poured in 15 of his game-high 42 points in the frantic fourth quarter. He finished the night 12-of-18 from the field, 5-of-8 from 3-point range and 13-of-14 from the free throw line as he tormented anyone who tried to defend him.

“It’s pretty clear he was left off the All-Star team last year and he’s making a statement,” Carlisle said. “He’s establishing himself as an early MVP candidate with performances like whatever he’s averaging now.

“He’s a great player and we didn’t do a good job on him either, and that’s on me. We didn’t have a good enough plan, and so next time we’ve got to do better with him.”

Despite their missteps, including falling behind 55-52 at the half, the Mavs were within six points of the Blazers (97-91) down the wire. But Deron Williams had back-to-back turnovers – one leading to a fastbreak dunk by Mason Plumlee and the other one Lillard converted into a pair of free throws after he was fouled.

That pushed Portland’s lead to 101-91 with 1:36 remaining, and all but salted this game away as Blazers coach Terry Stotts won his 300th career game.

The Mavs shot just 41 percent from the field and didn’t generate enough offense to climb past the Blazers. J.J. Barea started for center Andrew Bogut – he missed the game for personal reasons – and tallied a team-high 23 points and added six assists.

Harrison Barnes delivered his first double-double with the Mavs, clocking in with 17 points and 10 boards. Williams scored 12 points, but was 3-of-14.

“We’re having struggles, but when you’re down some guys, and guys are banged up and so on, this is what happens and just every day is a circle the wagons day,” Carlisle said. “It’s hold the line and find a way.

“I like our locker room. Our guys, to me, categorically, are fighters and we’ll fight our way through this.”

That fight will have to continue – at least for the next three games – without Nowitzki.

“Is it bad news, yes,” Carlisle said. “We’ll get through it.

“We’ve gone through some periods like this before. But his health is the most important thing.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Portland

26

29

24

26

105

Dallas

26

26

24

19

95

Portland

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Aminu

33:04

4-13

1-2

10

1

12

Harkless

32:20

4-8

0-0

1

0

9

Plumlee

34:05

7-9

5-5

4

2

19

Lillard

36:59

12-18

13-14

4

4

42

McCollum

23:06

4-11

0-1

5

5

9

Crabbe

32:56

2-9

0-0

6

2

4

Turner

25:11

1-8

2-2

7

2

5

Davis

9:12

1-1

0-2

3

2

2

Napier

8:58

1-2

0-0

2

1

3

Leonard

4:09

0-1

0-0

0

1

0

Totals

240:00

36-80

21-26

42

20

105

Percentages: FG .450, FT .808. 3-Point Goals: 12-31, .387 (Lillard 5-6, Aminu 3-8, Napier 1-2, Turner 1-2, Harkless 1-3, McCollum 1-5, Crabbe 0-5). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 14 (6 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Aminu, Crabbe, Plumlee). Turnovers: 14 (Turner 4, Crabbe 3, Plumlee 2, Aminu, Davis, Leonard, Lillard, McCollum). Steals: 9 (Plumlee 4, Crabbe 3, Aminu, Harkless).

Dallas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Barnes

35:16

8-17

0-0

10

3

17

Nowitzki

16:07

2-6

1-1

7

0

5

Barea

30:01

7-17

4-4

0

1

23

Matthews

28:46

1-6

4-5

0

5

7

Williams

36:55

3-14

5-6

5

1

12

Curry

25:34

3-8

0-0

3

2

8

Powell

23:20

2-3

3-4

8

2

7

Anderson

18:22

3-5

0-0

2

2

6

Mejri

12:52

4-4

0-0

6

3

8

Acy

11:06

1-3

0-0

3

2

2

Brussino

0:34

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Finney-Smith

0:34

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Hammons

0:34

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

240:00

34-83

17-20

44

21

95

Percentages: FG .410, FT .850. 3-Point Goals: 10-28, .357 (Barea 5-8, Curry 2-5, Matthews 1-2, Barnes 1-4, Williams 1-7, Acy 0-1, Anderson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 12 (20 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Anderson, Nowitzki, Powell). Turnovers: 12 (Barea 3, Matthews 3, Barnes 2, Williams 2, Acy, Curry). Steals: 5 (Powell 2, Williams 2, Curry). Att.—19,475 (19,200). T—2:14. Officials—Derrick Collins, Sean Wright, Karl Lane.

Milwaukee at Dallas

6 p.m. Sunday, FSSW

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