'A bad loss' for Blazers, and Lillard injures ankle
Tuesday night's news was almost all bad for the Trail Blazers.
Trailing through most of the second half, Portland fell 105-109 to lowly Dallas at American Airlines Center.
To add injury to insult, Damian Lillard rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter and was carted from the locker room to the team bus after the game.
The Blazers' All-Star point guard remained in the game with a slight limp. Once the game ended, he said there was more pain as swelling rushed to the ankle.
"It's sore," Lillard told NBC Sports Northwest afterward. "It's painful. I was able to finish the game, but it was worse when the game was over. (I'm) dealing with a lot more pain and swelling."
Lillard's availability for Portland's next game Thursday night at Houston is unknown.
Since the All-Star break, the Blazers (48-30) have been the most successful team in the NBA, winning 17 of 21 games.
But oh, a couple of those losses.
Last Wednesday, the moribund Memphis Grizzlies shocked Portland with a 108-103 win at FedEx Forum.
On Tuesday night at American Airlines Center, the lowly Dallas Mavericks hit the Blazers with another solar-plexus shot in a 115-109 victory.
Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. led a balanced attack with 18 points for the Mavericks (24-54), who had lost eight of their previous nine games.
Damian Lillard scored 29 points and was 15 for 15 from the free-throw line for the Blazers (48-30), who had won in 17 of their previous 20 outings.
But Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to make only 13 of 38 shots from the field, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range. Lillard was 6 for 20 from the field and 2 for 10 from beyond the arc. McCollum was 7 for 18 from the field, missing all five 3-point attempts.
Dallas won the game at the 3-point line, hitting 17 of 44 attempts to Portland's 10 for 40.
"That was a bad loss for us," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We didn't do the things defensively we need to win. No excuses. We didn't play well, and we need to play better."
Jose Barea scored all 15 of his points on 6-or-7 shooting to guide Dallas to a 50-49 halftime lead. Lillard had 13 points for Portland at intermission.
The Mavericks increased their advantage to 63-55 early in the third quarter. Dallas carried an 82-78 edge into the final period.
Dallas led 96-90 midway through the fourth quarter. Portland's Evan Turner sank a pair at the line to cut it to 96-92 with 5:34 remaining. Max Kleber hit a 3-pointer and Yogi Ferrell sank a jumper for the Mavericks, who made the score 101-92 with 4:04 left.
McCollum scored on a drive to cut the margin to 101-94 with 3:33 to play. Kleber hit another trey to make it 104-94 with 3:10 to go.
Jusuf Nurkic split a pair at the line to slice it to 104-95 with 2:58 remaining. Lillard followed with two free throws to get Portland to within 104-97 with 2:21 left. Dallas' Salah Mejri made 1 of 2 at the line to make the count 105-97 with 2:06 to go.
Lillard hit two more foul shots to bring Portland to within 105-99 with 1:45 to play. Smith's dunk gave the Mavericks a 107-99 lead with 1:23 left. Lillard made three more at the line to cut Portland's deficit to 107-102 with 1:09 remaining.
Smith scored on a drive to push the Mavericks' advantage to 109-102 with 49 seconds left. Shabazz Napier was 1 for 2 at the line to make the score 109-103 with 43.7 seconds to go. Kleber's free throw improved Dallas' lead to 110-103 with 38.9 seconds on the clock.
McCollum's driving bank shot made it 110-105 with 33.1 seconds left. Aaron Harrison made a pair at the line and it was 112-105 Dallas with 29.5 seconds to go.
Turner's layup cut it to 112-107 with 16 seconds remaining. Harrison Barnes clinched it with a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds to play.
Portland's next action is Thursday night at Houston.