PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Wesley Matthews had 25 points and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Mavericks 97-92 on Thursday night to narrow Dallas’ lead in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.
Jason Terry had 29 points coming off the bench early for the Mavericks, including five 3-pointers.
The Blazers led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, but Dirk Nowitzki hit consecutive jumpers to make it 87-81 midway through the period.
Jose Barea’s layup closed the gap to 93-87. LaMarcus Aldridge answered with a jumper for the Blazers, but Nowitzki came back after a free throw with a turnaround jumper to make it 95-90 with 42.8 seconds left.
Jason Kidd made a long jumper with 12.9 seconds to go but Dallas couldn’t catch the Blazers.
With each team holding home court so far in the series, Game 4 is set for Saturday afternoon at the Rose Garden.
The Mavs and Blazers split their regular-season series, with each team winning at home twice.
Portland has won 11 of their last 12 at the Rose Garden. Overall against Dallas, the Blazers have a 47-18 advantage at home in the regular season, and they are 7-1 in playoff games.
Aldridge finished with 20 points for the sixth-seeded Blazers, while Brandon Roy had 16 off the bench.
Nowitzki had 25 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Mavs.
Matthews made four 3-pointers in the first 5:38 of the game, helping the Blazers to a 16-7 lead.
Roy, who touched off a minor controversy over comments he made after playing just 8 minutes in Game 2, came into the game with 2:17 left in the first quarter to a standing ovation.
He made a 21-foot jumper to give the Blazers a 28-23 lead heading into the second quarter.
The three-time All-Star struggled during the regular season with knee issues, finally undergoing arthroscopic surgery on both knees in mid-January.
Upon his return, Roy struggled to find his place with the Blazers. And after sitting for much of Game 2, Roy voiced his frustration to The Oregonian newspaper.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little hurt or disappointed,” Roy told the paper. “I just always thought I would be treated a little better. That was a little disappointing for me.”
Before Thursday’s game, Roy apologized for the comments, saying he was caught up in the emotion of the loss.
Terry’s 3-pointer to open the second quarter gave the Mavericks a 31-28 lead, and Nowitzki capped an 11-4 run with a 10-foot jumper that made it 37-32.
But Portland, boosted by the home crowd, came back to tie it at 41 on Andre Miller’s layup. The Blazers went ahead 44-43 on Roy’s 3-pointer.
Portland held the lead until Nowitzki’s 3-pointer tied it at 52, but Matthews’ layup gave the Blazers a 54-52 halftime lead.
Matthews had 22 points in the first half. Terry, who coach Rick Carlisle sent in off the bench early, led the Mavs with 17.
Terry’s 3-pointer gave the Mavs a 57-54 lead but both teams wrestled back-and-forth throughout the third quarter.
Roy and Nicolas Batum made four straight free throws to give the Blazers a 75-72 lead going into the fourth.
Portland went ahead 85-74 in the fourth after consecutive 3-pointers from Batum and Gerald Wallace.
Dallas is 2-1 overall when they have opened 2-0 in 15 previous best-of-7 series. The exception was the 2006 NBA finals when the Miami Heat defeated the Mavericks in six games. The Heat were just the third team to claim a championship after trailing 0-2.
The last time Dallas and Portland met in the playoffs was 2003. The Mavs claimed the first three games before the Blazers won the next three. The Mavericks took the deciding game in Dallas.
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