Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kidd hits career high six three pointers as Mavs win game one over Blazers 89-81

By Kshell

The Dallas Mavericks(57-25) defeated the Portland Trail Blazers(48-34) in game one of the 2011 NBA playoffs first round behind a career high six three pointers by Jason Kidd. The Mavericks also saw perrenial all-star Dirk Nowitzki score 18 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks rallied from six points down to take game one. The Blazers overcame a halftime deficit of 10 points due to LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 27 points along with Andre Miller scoring 18 points. For the Blazers looking to win their first playoff series since 2000 they let a game slip away against a team who at times they looked better than. The Mavericks who have had 11 straight seasons over 50 wins or more haven't played well in the playoffs. Lately the Mavericks since blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 finals have had a tough time getting past the first round losing three of the last four years in the first round. The Mavericks survived game one at home but like last year are hoping to avoid losing game two at home.

In the first quarter it was the LaMarcus Aldridge show for the Blazers. Aldridge in the first quarter led all scorers with 11 points on five for six shooting giving the Blazers a 22-21 lead after one. Marcus Camby was big for the Blazers scoring two points but pulling down six rebounds while dishing out three assists and blocking a shot. The Blazers shot well 9-16(56.2%) from the field in the first quarter as well. For the Mavericks to keep in it they were led by veteran point guard Jason Kidd who scored eight points on three for five shooting including two three's. Nowitzki scored six points on three for seven shooting. The Mavericks in the first quarter shot 9-20(45.0%) while making three for seven(42.9%) from three point range. The Mavericks also outrebounded the Blazers 11-8 in the first quarter. The Blazers had the early lead but the Mavericks would make the first big run of the game in the second quarter.

In the second quarter the Mavericks defense tighten up on the Blazers. The Mavericks outscored the Blazers 26-15 as the Mavericks shot 9-17(52.9%) from the field and were perfect on all three three point attempts. The Mavericks also made five of six free throws. The defense held the Blazers to 6-16(37.5%) shooting from the field. The Blazers for the half were just one for six from three point range while the Mavericks were a ridiculous 6-10(60.0%). The Blazers found themselves trailing 47-37 at halftime which wasn't the fault of Aldridge who led all scorers with 13 points on 6-10 shooting but had just one rebound. The Blazers also were led by Andre Miller scoring 12 points on four for six shooting while knocking down four of five free throws. The Blazers had a great boost from Marcus Camby scoring four points but grabbed nine rebounds with two blocks. The Mavericks were led by Kidd who scored 11 points on four for six shooting and hit three three's while dishing out three assists and grabbing three rebounds. Nowitzki scored eight points on 4-11 shooting with five rebounds. Peja Stojakovic drilled two three pointers in the second to score six points as it appeared the Mavericks were going to turn this game into a blowout. The Blazers had different plans in the third quarter.

In the third quarter Aldridge put the Blazers on his back with the scoring and Camby dominated defensively. The Blazers outscored the Mavericks 20-14 in the third quarter to pull within 61-57. The Blazers got a nice boost from Gerald Wallace who was held scoreless in the first half scored six points in the quarter. Aldridge scored eight points in the quarter giving him 21 points on 9-16 shooting to that point in the game. Camby also grabbed eight rebounds that quarter. The Blazers shot 9-21(42.9%) from the field while outrebounding the Mavericks 16-8. The Mavericks shot just 5-19(26.3%)from the field and had just eight rebounds. The Mavericks only made two of six three pointers as well. The Blazers had stopped Nowitzki who scored just two points on one for five shooting in the fourth quarter. It had appeared the Blazers were going to win this game as Nowitzki was struggling scoring just 10 points on 5-16 shooting with six turnovers after three quarters. Nowitzki showed why he is a perrenial all-star as he rose to the occasion.

In the fourth quarter you saw Nowitzki put the team on his back and take it to the foul line the whole quarter. The Mavericks found themselves trailing 72-66 with over six minutes to go in the game. That is when Nowitzki took over including hitting a three pointer to give the Mavericks the lead at 75-74. Nowitzki in the fourt quarter scored 18 points and was perfect 13-13 at the foul line. Then with Mavericks up 82-78 Kidd hit the dagger of a three pointer to put the Mavericks up seven and most importantly wrapped up game one. When it was all said and done the Mavericks outscored the Blazers 23-9 to finish the game. The Mavericks made 18-19(94.7%) from the foul line in the fourth quarter while the Blazers attempted just two free throw's despite outscoring the Mavericks 46-18 in the paint. This was a big win for the Mavericks and a good building experience game for the Blazers who saw several key players including Brandon Roy struggle today.

The Blazers didn't play a bad game at all shooting 35-76(46.1%) from the field but struggled to knock down that outside shot hitting just 2-16(12.5%) from three point range. The Blazers were led by Aldridge who threw down several alley-oops on the game scoring 27 points on 12-20(60.0%) from the field while grabbing six rebounds. Miller scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting while dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds. Nicolas Batum scored 14 points on 6-14 shooting but made just one of seven three point attempts. Camby finished with four points while pulling down 18 rebounds with five assists and two blocks. The Blazers also had three key players struggle for them including former All-Star Brandon Roy who scored just two points on one for seven shooting. Another Blazer who struggled was Wesley Matthews who scored just two points with three turnovers. Then Gerald Wallace who was shutout in the first half scored just eight points on 4-13(30.7%) shooting from the field while grabbing just five rebounds. The Blazers played pretty well considering none of their role players who are all capable of having big nights played so poorly.

For the Mavericks they can breathe a little better knowing they won game one at home. For a team who has struggled so much in the playoffs to find themselves trailing in game one by six points in the fourth quarter at home had to feel uneasy. The Mavericks were led by Nowitzki who didn't shoot well but still found a way to score 28 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. Kidd scored 24 points on 9-14(64.2%) from the field and made 6-10(60.0%) from three point range. Kidd also had five rebounds and four assists. The only other Maverick to do anything was Jason Terry who scored 10 points on two for five shooting. The Mavericks won the game with the three point shot making 10-19(52.6%) and at the foul line making 25-29(86.2%). For the Mavericks this win was big but it was more of a sigh of relief if anything. Now the Mavericks look to go up 2-0 in the series on tuesday.

Overall, the Blazers won't be discouraged by this performance. If anything this game proves to the Blazers they can play with the Mavericks. The Blazers went toe to toe with the Mavericks watching them shoot 19-2 in free throws in the fourth quarter. The Blazers saw Jason Kidd hit a career high six three pointers while their former all-star Brandon Roy struggled to put the ball in the hoop. At the end of the day the Mavericks won game one and have a one game to none lead. For the Blazers they are just looking for a split then come home to Rose Garden with the series 1-1. The Blazers have some work to do but there was some positives today mainly the play of Aldridge who is really becoming a star in this league. Now the Blazers don't have time for moral victories they must get that game two in Dallas to have a realistic chance in this series. Should be fun to see how game two turns out. Either way one team will feel great about themselves while the losing team will feel like it's the end of the world for them.


- Aldridge is starting to show why he is such a great offensive player. Aldridge still is inconsistent as a rebounder having just two rebounds in the game after three quarters. On offense he was pretty incredible with those dunks making 12-20(60.0%) from the field. Aldridge is a go to guy in this league and in the past has had solid playoffs. Now Aldridge needs to get a few calls as he shot just four free throws despite his 20 field goal attempts.

I felt like Aldridge was letting the lack of calls and the Mavericks frustrate him in the second quarter. Aldridge scored just two points that quarter had one rebound and shot one for four. I also felt Aldridge showed maturity to quickly bounce back in the third quarter and score eight points. The Blazers have had to completely change their franchise with Roy and Greg Oden going down to injuries. Aldridge has helped with that transition some. People forget Aldridge was the number two pick in the same draft that Roy was the seventh pick in the draft. The Aldridge-Nowitzki matchup this playoffs has to be one of the better matchups in the first round.

- Now the worst topic I didn't want to talk about but I feel I have to. Brandon Roy looks injured and obviously isn't anywhere close to his old self. I question why Nate McMillan went with him down the stretch when Roy was playing so ineffective. Roy in 26 minutes scored just two points on one for seven shooting. Even worst Roy had the worst +/- on the team at negative 10 points. It is sad to see Roy be so injured especially when you look at this Blazers roster. If they just had the Roy of two years ago the Blazers could be the second or third best team in the Western Conference and very much a championship contender. Then when you throw in Oden this will be one of those what if's Blazers fans will always think about.

- Dirk Nowitzki showed why he lives on the All-NBA teams today. In a game where he didn't shoot well 7-20(35.0%) he still found a way to score 28 points. Nowitzki scored 18 points in the fourth quarter when he nailed all 13 free throws he attempted in the fourth. Now some may say he got superstar calls while others say he was attacking the hoop. There is a reason why superstars get calls because they are good at what they do. They know how to get to the foul line which sadly is a skill.

Nowitzki also grabbed 10 rebounds and had the best +/- out of anyone as he was a plus 17. For those who don't know that means the Mavericks outscored the Blazers by 17 points when he was on the court for 39 minutes. Nowitzki who is playing in his 11th straight playoffs is hoping this year is different that the Mavericks can finally win a championship.

- Remember when Gary Payton once said you should call Jason Kidd "Ason Kidd" because he has no "J". Well those days are long over now. Believe it or not Kidd is third all-time in NBA history in three pointers made. Kidd who is a career 34.8% three point shooter made a career high six three pointers today making 60.0% of his three pointers.

Kidd carried the Mavericks when Nowitzki was slow to get going. Then Kidd nailed the dagger to put the game away. Kidd who had his worst season of his career averaging just 7.9 PPG while 36.1% from the field and 34.0% from three point range stepped up today. Kidd scored 24 points which is the most he has scored since he scored points last season on April 3rd against hijack city(Oklahoma City). To say Kidd played huge today would be a huge understatement. Kidd showed at least for today that he still has some game left.

- This loss drops Nate McMillan's playoff record to 12-17(.413) for his career. In fact McMillan has won just one playoff series in his coaching career now. McMillan had some puzzling moves in the fourth quarter which included not playing Camby who was dominating on defense especially when Nowitzki was getting so many free throw attempts. Another questionable move was playing Roy so many minutes especially playing him so many at point guard.

McMillan I think is a good coach but I also think he can't take a team very far. He is great at getting teams to overachieve but I'm not sure if he can take a team deep into the playoffs which ultimately is the goal. I like Mr. Sonic and hope he can produce a playoff series win this year. The Blazers right now have the longest active playoff losing streak losing six series in a row dating back to my eighth grade year in 2000. Is McMillan the guy to break that streak? Well that is yet to be seen to date.

In conclusion, the Blazers were playing with house money in game one. Nobody expects a road team to get a sweep and all you can hope for is a split. Now game two will be different the Blazers don't want to come home down 2-0 to an experience Dallas Mavericks team. The Mavericks showed their veteran leadership in today's playoff win. Despite not winning a championship Nowitzki and Kidd have played in NBA finals and know how to win in the playoffs. The Blazers are hoping to get to that level where they know how to win in the playoffs. With some better play from their role players the Blazers can get the split. One would think Kidd won't shoot 60.0% from three point range the rest of the series. Now it comes down to game two to see where this series goes from here. If Aldridge has anything to say about it the Blazers will be coming home with the split. Just don't forget the Mavericks may have had plenty of failures in the postseason but they have had some success as well. The Mavericks take game one now we'll find out what this resilient Blazers team is made of once again. Knowing the Blazers they'll fight back and make game two a great war. Should be interesting to see game two I can't wait.

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