Dallas Mavericks fans should have known from the get-go that this would be a foreseen dismal game when All-Star, Dirk Nowitzki, missed a mid-range jumper at the start of their game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Perfervid in their mission to prove to the public that they don’t submit that easily to a fatal team in the south, Portland slithered around like a cobra hunting in relatively tall grass, ready to pounce on the Mavericks’ supposedly deadly offense. The Mavs, who usually play the role of mongoose in this type of scenario, went belly-up after the first half, and wandered around the court like a pitiful foundling – or like the Dallas Cowboys in the month of December.
Lacking the perspicacity that Dallas possessed in their last couple of games, the Mavericks opened up the first quarter with a sigh instead of their usual boisterous roar, finicky in their methods on the offensive end of the court. As usual, Chandler Parsons was the first to put the boys in blue on the board first, his value apparently not diminishing with road woes… at least in the first couple of minutes. The Mavericks struck with a narrow four point lead (while shooting at 52.4 percent) at the close of the first, which only whispered of acrid moments to come for Dallas fans since, by this time, their beloved team should have had 29,274,397 points on the board.
Brandan Wright showed the visiting team promise in the second by having a 19-of-21 field goal percentage while he and the rest of the Dallas bench scored 11-4 up until this point. Chris Kaman, a former Maverick himself, seemed to answer every rival basket Dallas put up with one of his own, thus causing his former city to want to flip him the bird while cursing to the skies. Back-to-back C.J. McCollum threes put the home team up 28-24 with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the half, prompting Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to call a time out in order to place his team back on the right path. However, Parsons, their phenomenal offseason acquisition, was only 1-of-6 from the field – something that was a tad out of the ordinary for the 26-year-old since arriving in Dallas. Fear bombarded the Mavs when Nowitzki appeared to have rolled his ankle on Kaman’s foot during a three attempt, subtly reminding the world that if you hurt Dirk Nowitzki, you’ll have to face a city whose residents carry Concealed Weapon’s Permits. Dallas headed into the locker room leading 50-46.
Coming out after the half, Dallas’ Monta Ellis picked up his fourth foul of the night only eight seconds in, causing Carlisle to sit him almost immediately and toss in Devin Harris. Thus began the landslide: Parsons’ shot failed him just as the Blazers came alive from the three-point marker, and Dirk (who had his minutes shaved this year due to, you know, aging) just wasn’t Dirk. At this point, the game might as well have been narrated by a Greek chorus for all Mavs fans knew. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, I couldn’t tell if this was a basketball game or a freaking botched Meg Ryan facelift with the Mavericks light-years behind, 68-81.
Joking aside, confluence tends to occur in the most tragic areas, especially when one is caught off-guard by the sting of mortality: during the fourth quarter of the game, a Portland fan collapsed to the ground and EMTs were brought in to perform CPR as both teams looked on horrified, clearly shaken by the violent ordeal. Even the press watched helplessly and reported all they could, their shuttering prayers going out to the fan.
Players took to the court in the aftermath, visibly rattled by the all-too-human incident. Carlisle cleared out his bench in order to attempt to close a significantly large gap, but Dallas would end up falling 87-108 on the road.
Losses are losses, and the multifarious Mavericks understand that – they were simply outplayed and sliced in their very own Achilles’ heel during the third. Time to stitch up the wound and move on… however reluctant it is to do so.
Dallas goes on to play the Utah Jazz on Friday evening in Salt Lake City.
Featured image courtesy of nikk_la/Flickr.