Mavericks Host Blazers in pivotal Game 5 with Series Tied 2-2

2011 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game #5
#6 Portland Trail Blazers at #3 Dallas Mavericks (series tied 2-2)
Best of seven series, format 2-2-1-1-1
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Monday, April 25, 2011, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: NBA TV
Opening Line: Dallas -4 1/2
Current Line: Dallas -5
Opening Total: 187
Current Total: 184
Money Line: Dallas -230 / Portland +190

Mavericks-Blazers series preview
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki leads the Mavericks as they try to rebound from a devastating collapse in game 4. The Mavericks are 5 point home favorites.

Simply stunning. Those are the only words to describe what happened in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks and Blazers game 4 in Portland. With a minute to go in the 3rd quarter Dallas was up 23 points and looked like they were on their way to a 3-1 series lead. However, Blazers guard Brandon Roy who is still recovering from double knee surgery earlier in the season had one of the greatest quarters in NBA postseason history. He scored 18 of his 24 points in the 4th including the winning basket with less than a minute,  as the Blazers had an incredible rally  to win 84-82. It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks respond in game 5. mavericks fans had nightmare flashbacks of Game 2 of the 2006 Finals when the Mavericks won the first 2 games against Miami. They were up 13 points in game 3 well on their way to an insurmountable 3-0 lead and their first NBA Title. However, Dwayne Wade caught fire and led the Heat to the comeback win. The Heat won 4 in  row to clinch the title. The Mavericks hope history does not repeat itself against the Blazers.

The Mavericks and Blazers have played 8 times this season and the home team has won every game. The Mavericks won game 1 89-81, and game 2 101-89 both in Dallas. Portland won game 3 97-92 and had the comeback in game 4. Game #2 was the only one decided by double digits of the 8 games this year. Dallas is 8-7 straight up in the last 15 against Portland and 9-6 ATS  in those games. The over is 8-7 in those games. The Mavericks are 48-36 ATS in all games this season, including 28-16 versus teams with winning records and 21-20 at home. Portland is 42-39 ATS in all games this season including 18-21 on the road.

Dallas Forward Caron Butler has been out since early January with a knee injury. He has been cleared to practice this week but probably won’t be able to play until the next round if the Mavericks get that far. Guard Dominique Jones is out indefinitely. Guard Rodrigue Beaubois is doubtful with a foot injury and has missed the last 4 games.

Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 26.5 points a game in the 4 playoff games. In game 4, Dirk had 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists. In game 4 the Mavericks went away from Dirk as eh was only 1 for 3 from the field.  Shawn Marion had his best game of the series with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Terry added 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench. No other Maverick scored more than 9 points. The Mavericks shot 40.8% from the field including 10 for 26 from 3 point range. They made all ten of their free throws, but the fact that they attempted 16 more three pointers than free throws suggests they were settling for jumpers rather than being aggressive and going to the hoop. They had 37 rebounds, 19 assists, and 14 turnovers. One other interesting fact is the Mavericks had zero fast break points Saturday afternoon.

After game 2, Brandon Roy was almost in tears because he was so far down in the rotation that he only played 8 minutes and didn’t score. It was very humiliating for a one time all-star, injury or not. Before game 3 he got a series of encouraging texts including one from Charles Barkley telling him to keep his head up and don’t get discouraged. He responded with 16 points off the bench as the Blazers won for the first time in the series. Saturday he had only 6 points going into the fourth quarter. He exploded for 18 points in the fourth to lead the rally. He also added 4 rebounds and 5 assists in the comeback. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points, 6 rebounds, one assist, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Point guard  Andre Miller added 14 points. Guard Wesley Matthews added 11 points in the win. Small forward Gerald Wallace  had 10 points 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Blazers shot 42% from the field including 4 for 19 from 3 point range. They made 22 of 23 free throws. They had 34 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 turnovers. They outscored Dallas 34-24 in the paint.

Much like a baseball closer who blew a save in his previous appearance, the Mavericks have to have tunnel vision. They need to completely forget about what happened in game 4. They still have home court advantage in what is now a best of three series. They haven’t lost at home this season to Portland. I expect another close hard fought game. I think you will see better offense, as both teams struggled from the field in game 4.

Our NBA handicappers are red hot in the 2011 playoffs. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until the Finals in June.

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