Friday, April 22, 2011
Blazers win game three 97-92 behind Matthews playoff career high 25 points
The Portland Trail Blazers just needed some home cooking as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks(lead series 2-1) 97-92 in game three to pull within two games to one. For the Blazers they had balanced scoring which prevailed over the Dallas Mavericks who had just two guys score in double figures. The Blazers were led by Wesley Matthews who scored a playoff career high 25 points including four three pointers. The Blazers also had a big lift off the bench from former all-star Brandon Roy who scored 16 points including nine points in the second quarter. The Mavericks kept the game close due to Jason Terry scoring 29 points off the bench but Dirk Nowitzki didn't have the fourth quarter magic like he has the last two games. For the Blazers they took care of business at home and must win game four at home to tie this series up. So far including the regular season these teams have played seven games which the home team has won every game. The Blazers were feeling great at home behind two players were who were pretty quiet in games one and two.
The Blazers behind the home crowd came out fired up starting the game off going up 10-2. Matthews was huge in the first quarter hitting two three pointers in that 10-2 run. The Mavericks then fought back with Terry scoring off the bench. The Blazers at the end of the first quarter led 28-23 behind Matthews who scored 16 points on six for seven shooting including four for five from three pointers. The Blazers also saw LaMarcus Aldridge score six points on three for seven shooting. The Blazers got a nice contribution from Marcus Camby who scored four points while grabbing four rebounds. The Blazers shot 12-21(57.1%) from the field while making four of six three pointers. For the Mavericks they were kept in the game by Jason Terry who scored 10 points on three for three shooting and was four of five from the foul line. Nowitzki once again had a slow start scoring just two points on one for three shooting. For the Mavericks they shot 9-16(56.3%) from the field but made just one three pointer. The Mavericks also made just four of seven from the free throw line. The Mavericks had weathered the Blazers storm and would storm back in the second quarter.
In the second quarter the Dallas Mavericks pushed back and even had the lead at points during the second quarter. The Mavericks were led in the second quarter by Jason Terry who kept his hot shooting scoring seven points and Nowitzki who scored 11 points on five for seven shooting including a three pointer. For the Blazers to keep pace a familiar face stepped up for them. Roy who played just nine minutes in game two and had scored just two points in two games scored nine points in the quarter. Roy was four for five shooting including a three pointer. Matthews kept up his pace scoring six points in the quarter. The Mavericks had outscored the Blazers in the quarter 29-26 to pull within 54-52 of the Blazers. For The Mavericks they shot 12-19(63.2%) from the field in the quarter and three for eight on three pointers. For the Blazers they shot 11-19(57.9%) from the field in the second quarter. It was a fast pace second quarter and a fast pace half for both teams.
For the Mavericks at halftime they were led by Jason Terry who had scored 17 points on six for seven shooting while making a three pointer. Terry also dished out five assists. Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 points on 6-10 shooting including a three pointer but missed his only free throw attempt. Game two hero Peja Stojakovic scored seven points on three for four shooting including a three pointer. The Mavericks shot 21-35(60.0%) from the field while making 4-11(36.4%) from three point range. The Mavericks had made just 6-10(60.0%) from the free throw line. The Mavericks after the start they had were very content to be down just two points at halftime.
For the Blazers at halftime they were led by Wesley Matthews who scored 22 points on 8-11 shooting including four for six from three point range. Aldridge scored 12 points on 6-12 shooting but had zero rebounds. Then Roy scored nine points on four for five shooting including a three pointer. Andre Miller also scored seven points on three for five shooting including a three pointer with six assists. The Blazers shot 23-40(57.5%) from the field and five of eight from three point range. The Blazers were playing the way they wanted. The problem for the Blazers is they have led at halftime before against this Mavericks team and lost the lead in the fourth quarter. The Blazers would prove in the second half at the Rose Garden is different than in Dallas.
In the third quarter it was a back and forth struggle for both teams. For the Blazers they once again were bailed out by Roy who scored seven points in the quarter to give him 16 points in the game. The Blazers also saw Miller score five points to give him 12 points in the game to that point. The Mavericks were carried by Terry who scored nine points to give him 26 points on 9-10 shooting to that point. For the Blazers they outscored the Mavericks 21-20 to give themselves a slim 75-72 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Blazers had shot 6-17(35.2%) from the field but made eight of nine free throws. The Mavericks had shot 7-16(43.7%) from the field but did make four of seven three pointers. Heading into the fourth the Mavericks were led by Terry who had 26 points and Nowitzki who scored 16 points on 7-14 shooting but had made just one of three free throws. For the Blazers they were led by Matthews scoring 25 points on 8-11 shooting, Aldridge with 16 points on 8-17 shooting, Miller with 12 points and Roy with 16 points. The Blazers unlike the previous two games didn't let Nowitzki kill them in the fourth.
In the fourth quarter where Nowitzki has killed the Blazers in the first two games he was contained. The Blazers took a 75-72 game and stretched it to 87-74 with six minutes to go. The Mavericks would fight back but due to clutch free throws by the Blazers they would hang on to win 97-92. The Blazers won the fourth quarter 22-20 over the Mavericks. The Mavericks missed five of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter while the Blazers made six of seven which proved to be the difference. For the quarter the Blazers shot 7-18(38.8%) but made two of four three pointers. For the Mavericks they shot 7-17(41.1%) from the field but made just one three pointer. Nowitzki who had averaged 16.0 PPG in the fourth quarter scored nine points on three for seven shooting. For the Blazers they hung on in the fourth quarter even though the game got scary towards the end. This was a huge win for the Blazers to win and the way they won in the fourth quarter.
For the Dallas Mavericks they finished the game with just two guys in double figures. The Mavericks shot well making 35-68(51.5%) from the field but 9-22(40.9%) from three point range. The Mavericks also only made 13-23(56.5%) from the free throw line. The Mavericks were led by Jason Terry who scored 29 points off the bench on 10-13 shooting including five of seven from three point range. Terry also dished out seven assists while doing his best to keep the Mavericks in the game. Nowitzki shot better than the first two but didn't get to the free throw line like he did in Dallas. Nowitzki scored 25 points on 10-21 shooting with nine rebounds. Nowitzki made a three pointer but after shooting 28-30(93.3%) from free throws first two games he shot just 4-7(57.1%) from the foul line in game three. Jason Kidd who played out of his mind in the first two games scored just eight points on three for nine shooting including two for eight from three point range. For the Mavericks other than Terry they just seemed a little off.
For the Blazers they held off the Mavericks to win at home in a must win. The Blazers were led by balance today which saw Wesley Matthews score a playoff career high 25 points. Matthews finished the game shooting 8-12 from the field including four of six from three pointers. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points on 9-21 shooting while grabbing just four rebounds. Then Andre Miller had a solid well rounded game scoring 16 points on 6-13 shooting including a three pointer. Miller also dished out seven assists and was perfect in all three free throw attempts. Brandon Roy was a huge spark off the bench scoring 16 points on 6-10 shooting including a three pointer while dishing out four assists. Gerald Wallace was quiet offensively scoring just seven points on two for six shooting but had a huge three in the fourth quarter. Wallace also grabbed a team high 11 rebounds with two steals and a block shot. Marcus Camby continued to do the dirty work scoring six points and grabbing 10 rebounds with a block shot. The Blazers shot 36-75(48.0%) from the field but shot 8-14(57.1%) from three point range. The Blazers also shot 17-21(81.0%) from the free throw line while turning the ball over just nine times. The Blazers fed off the home crowd and will look to do the same in game four on Saturday night.
Overall, the Blazers did what they had to do and work still is far from over. The Blazers must continue this well rounded play where seven guys score at least six points and four scored in double figures. The Blazers like I figured would happen received nice play from their role players and the Mavericks didn't live at the free throw line. Typically the home team the role players step up and the road team won't live on the free throw line. For the Blazers winning game three was nice it really was but winning game four is just as important. The Blazers won a playoff game and in the playoffs momentum is huge. The Blazers ace up their sleeve in Brandon Roy produced big. If Roy can play like today the Blazers can make a deep run in the playoffs. Game four should be a fun game as both teams will play with intensity as they both will want that game. The Mavericks don't want to come home tied at two games while the Blazers don't want to leave Portland down three games to one. If Roy continues this type of play along with Matthews the Blazers will be in good shape.
- The Blazers signed Wesley Matthews for games just like today. Matthews set the tone early scoring 16 of his 25 points in the first quarter hitting four three pointers. Matthews who played poorly in game one only scoring two points has bounced back scoring 38 points the last two games. Matthews now for the series is averaging 13.3 points per game on 15-26(57.7%) from the field while making 5-9(55.6%) from three point range.
For the year Matthews averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 44.9% from the field and 40.7% from three point range making an average of 1.9 three pointers a game. Matthews isn't as bad as game one or as good as game three. Look for him to continue to play well as he is a good player. Matthews put the team on his back in the first half scoring 22 of the Blazers 54 points. As long as Matthews is playing that well the Blazers will be a tough team.
- The signs that LaMarcus Aldridge is becoming a good scorer is games like today. Aldridge scored 20 points and appeared to be a quiet 20 points. Signs that Aldridge isn't quite there yet is only four rebounds and being shutout in the first half. Aldridge scored 20 points on 9-21 shooting against the Mavericks in game three while pulling down just four rebounds.
For the series Aldridge is having a breakout series so far. Aldridge is averaging 23.7 points per game while grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game. Aldridge is shooting 30-59(50.9%) from the field. He has made 11-14(78.6%) from the foul line. I think once you accept who Aldridge is which is a power forward who plays small which is okay when you have a Gerald Wallace at small you'll be content with his production. Aldridge scores his points on outside shots but he does score though is the key. Aldridge needs to continue this type of scoring while increasing his rebounds for the Blazers to advance.
- Brandon Roy who had by far his worst season as a Blazer had a great bounce back game in game three. Roy scored 16 points off the bench on 6-10 shooting. Prior to that Roy had scored just two points on one for eight shooting in a combined 34 minutes of play. Today Roy played 23 minutes while showing everyone he isn't ready to call it quits just yet.
Roy who is a three time all-star was huge in the playoffs two years ago against Houston. In that series Roy averaged 26.7 points per game on 56-122(45.9%) shooting from the field including 42 points in game two win over Houston. Roy has struggled this year in fact his 16 points is the most he has scored since coincidently scoring 21 points on March 15th in a win at home against the Dallas Mavericks. The Blazers are built where Roy doesn't need to be an all-star to beat the Mavericks. The Blazers do need something from Roy as he can be their best scorer off the bench. If Roy continues to play well the Blazers are tough to beat.
- Nate McMillan I think handled the Roy situation today perfectly which ultimately won them the game. Instead of getting into a battle with his player who was upset over lack of playing time McMillan trusted Roy. Roy rewarded his trust with the big game. McMillan also made some adjustsments on Stojakovic and Kidd who combined scored 15 points and made just three three's a far cry from what happened down in Dallas. McMillan has never won a playoff series when the other team has won at least two games so if the Blazers were to win that would end that streak. To McMillan's credit history shows the Blazers should take this game as he is 3-1 all-time in game four when his team is down two games to one. In fact McMillan is 4-1 all-time in game four's in general. Blazers fans hope that streak continues for McMillan in game four as they look to even the series up.
In conclusion, the Blazers showed everyone why people thought they could win this series. The Blazers showed great depth today while the Mavericks had just two guys who played well. When the Mavericks aren't shooting over 30 free throws a game they have problems scoring having scored just 40 points in the second half. The Blazers know that game four will be a war with both teams. The Blazers hope the play of Aldridge and Miller can continue like it has the rest of the series. The Blazers are hoping Roy and Matthews can play games like today instead of games like game one. The Mavericks will be hoping that Nowitzki can have a game where he shoots his season average of 52% and finally go off for over 40 points. This should be a fun series with the Blazers winning the game they had to win. The Blazers now set themselves up nicely to make this a series again in game four. While the Mavericks are hoping to get their split and really put the Blazers playoff hopes on life support. The Blazers responded nicely in game three now it's on to game four to see if they can even the series back up.