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Mavs Outmatched by Trail Blazers

Sports

Dallas Mavericks team fell to the Portland Trail Blazers | Image by Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

A shorthanded Dallas Mavericks team fell 140-123 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night to finish a five-game road trip with a 1-4 record.

It was the second game of a back-to-back between the teams. Portland snapped a five-game losing streak with a 136-119 victory on Saturday in the first.

Luka Doncic (rest) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (sprained ankle) both had Sunday night off, joining the already injured Josh Green, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Maxi Kleber.

The absences left Dallas without five of its top-eight rotation.

Despite being shorthanded, the Mavericks gave a dogged effort trailing just 98-96 heading into the final quarter. But Jusuf Nurkic’s 3-pointer pushed the Blazers’ lead to 118-103 with 8:09 left, and Portland cruised the rest of the way.

The Mavericks got 28 points from Spencer Dinwiddie, 23 from Christian Wood, and a career-high 25 points from rookie Jaden Hardy — but Portland’s Damian Lillard could not be stopped.

Lillard was a thorn in the side of the Mavericks in both games, scoring 40 points on Sunday night to back up a 36-point Saturday performance. giving Portland consecutive wins for the first time since mid-December.

“It comes down to our defense. We’ve got give a better effort, unless we’re just going to be an offensive team where we’re just going to try and score 140 every night,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said.

WHAT TO KNOW

Dallas is now 0-5 in games Doncic has missed this season, all second games of back-to-backs.

The Mavericks star had a season-low 15 points in 35 minutes in Saturday night’s loss to the Blazers. But it came after a double-overtime win against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday when he played 53 minutes and had 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists.

Dallas was also without Hardaway Jr. after he hurt his ankle late in Saturday’s game, while Wood started after missing the first game against Portland with a sore ankle and added 16 rebounds to go with his 23 points.

Dallas had won eight of its last nine games before embarking on its five-game road trip. It had climbed to fourth in the West, a mere 3.5 games behind first-place Denver.

The 1-4 record on the trip only drops the Mavericks to fifth place in the conference, but it now trails first-place Denver (30-13) by seven games. Dallas (24-21) went from leading Sacramento by two games to trailing the now fourth-place Kings by 1.5 games.

The trip’s highlight was the double-overtime thriller over the Lakers. However, the heavy minutes that Doncic and others played in that game certainly played a role in defeats to the Blazers on Saturday and Sunday.

Before facing Dallas, Portland (21-22) had lost five straight and played with desperation at the Mavericks’ expense.

BY THE NUMBERS

The performance of the rookie Hardy continues to impress. The rookie did not enter Sunday’s game until well into the second quarter but poured in points at nearly a point per minute.

Hardy’s 25 points on Sunday came in just 27 minutes.

Dallas kept the game close, facing only a seven-point deficit at halftime. The Mavericks scored a whopping 41 points in the third quarter, even briefly taking the lead before the Blazers pulled away in the fourth.

Portland went 37-of-42 (88.1%) on free throws, compared to 27-of-33 (81.8%) for Dallas.

WHO SAID

Mavericks coach Kidd spoke on the disappointing five-game road trip.

“There’s a lot of good things, an emotional win in L.A. after losing to the Clippers,” he said. “Looking here in Portland, shorthanded, I thought the guys competed. There could be some tired bodies, but no one’s going to feel sorry for us. The games keep coming.

“We’ve got to protect home,” Kidd continued. “We thought this was going to be a good road trip for us to be able to improve our road record (now 8-15), but unfortunately we ran into some teams that were playing well.”

NEXT UP

The Mavericks open a four-game homestand against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

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