The Mavericks are leading the series 2-1 against Portland despite Dirk Nowitzki struggling with his shot. Well, his shots from the floor. Nowitzki at the line has been pretty good so far, until Thursday night.
When it comes to being guarded, Nowitzki hasn't found much success after shooting a career-high 51.7 percent during the regular season. He's at 41.2 percent (26 of 63) through three games against the Blazers.
"At times, they've done a very good job and made his shots very difficult, and there's been times he's missed some that he would normally make," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "So again, overanalyzing those numbers is something... I'm not sure how relevant it is because it's not just one guy's shooting stats. We've got a whole team here and what everybody's doing counts."
LaMarcus Aldridge has been the one guarding Nowitzki most of the time. Aldridge's length and athleticism has been an issue.
"He is a good defender," Nowitzki said. "They switch a lot, they always keep a body on me (and) they don't leave me much."
Nowitzki was better in Game 3 at 10-of-21 from the floor, but was an uncharacteristic 4-of-7 at the line. He has a big miss late in the fourth quarter when the Mavs were trying to rally.
Nowitzki hopes to get everything together going into Game 4 on Saturday. Dallas can either take a commanding 3-1 lead or return for the fifth game at home Monday feeling the pressure.
TRAIL BLAZERS 97, MAVERICKS 92: Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined for 54 points, but none of their teammates reached double-figures in Thursday night's hard-fought loss on the road. The normally reliable Mavs struggled at the line, making only 13 of 23, including a number of key misses in the fourth, and committed 16 turnovers two nights after having just six. Wesley Matthews had 25 for the Blazers, who now trail the series 2-1.
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