NBA Playoffs 2011: Mavericks Eliminate Blazers with First Road Victory
Throughout the first five games, each team bravely defended its home court. Tonight, the trend would change.
Several factors were highly influential to the outcome of this game. Let’s take a close look.
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Portland came out firing on all cylinders and looking like a team poised to force Game 7.
This energy only lasted one quarter though. After allowing Portland to score 27 points in the first, Dallas held the Blazers to only 16 in the second to take a nine-point lead going into the half.
It never looked back.
Portland seemed to recover some of its first-quarter energy with an amazing fourth-quarter run. It was able to close the gap to one point with just under five minutes to play. For a minute, it looked like Dallas was going to experience another meltdown similar to what happened in Game 4.
But this time, Dallas fought back.
Both teams displayed great energy, something that characterized this series. Dallas was just able to bring a little more.
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Andre Miller came into tonight averaging just about 17 points and six assists per game, shooting almost 52 percent from the field and a surprising 50 percent from beyond the arc.
He was clearly Portland’s most consistent player through the first five games.
He was not nearly as effective in Game 6. For most of the game, the 35-year-old looked exhausted. He finished with only five points on only 2-of-7 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from the charity stripe.
Portland was fortunate to get enough contribution from its supporting cast to make up for Miller’s lack of productivity. The veteran guard spent most of his second half on the bench.
Containing LaMarcus Aldridge
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In the regular season not many players were able to dominate the Dallas Mavericks like LaMarcus Aldridge did. In the first three playoff games, this continued.
In Game 4, coach Rick Carlisle decided to play Tyson Chandler on Aldridge more. It significantly paid off. In the next two games, Aldridge shot just 12-of-32.
Tonight, Aldridge continued his struggles against Chandler. But when Chandler was out of the game, Aldridge was an absolute monster.
Aldridge started the fourth quarter by scoring 10 straight Portland points, mostly against Brendan Haywood. That only lasted a few minutes, and when Chandler came back into the game, Aldridge was ineffective again.
All in all, Aldridge did end up having a solid game with 24 points and 10 rebounds, but it took him 25 shots to get there.
Getting to the Line
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Throughout three quarters, free-throw shooting was even between both teams.
The start of the fourth quarter was a different story. The Mavericks often settled for jumpers, while Portland, specifically Wesley Mathews and Gerald Wallace, kept driving the ball to the basket, resulting in free throws.
After getting to the line just 12 times through three quarters, the Blazers got to the line 14 times in the fourth, making 12 of their attempts.
On the other hand, Dallas did not take a single free throw in the fourth quarter until Portland started fouling to extend the game. What it did do was make jump shot after jump shot to close the game out.
As the game came to an end, Dirk Nowitzki made eight straight free throws to put the game away.
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The Portland Trail Blazers found themselves down big entering the fourth once again. Once again, they responded with a furious comeback.
Portland came into the fourth down 13, but its aggressiveness and assertiveness offensively quickly cut that lead to just one.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry led the offensive attack in the fourth, as they have through the season. Dirk scored 14 in the fourth quarter, making 8-of-8 from the free throw line late in the game. He would finish the game with a game-high 33 points and 12 rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and Wesley Mathews did an admirable job trying to get their team the comeback win, but it was not enough.