DALLAS (AP) — Damian Lillard extended the Dallas Mavericks’ season-opening misery on the court. Dirk Nowitzki’s aching Achilles continued it off the court.
Lillard scored 27 of his season-high 42 points in the second half to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 105-95 victory over Dallas on Friday night, sending the Mavericks to the first 0-5 start in their 37-year franchise history.
Nowitzki sat out the second half with a sore right Achilles and after the game, the team announced he would miss at least the next week.
“It’s just uncomfortable and sore,” Nowitzki said. “So we decided to just shut it down. I’m already not moving great at 38 as it is, so to be out there moving on one leg is not helping myself and it’s not helping the team.”
The Mavericks were also without Andrew Bogut (personal reasons), and Lillard and the Blazers took advantage. With backcourt mate C.J. McCollum saddled with foul trouble for most of the game, Lillard had 18 of Portland’s 25 points during a 14-minute stretch of the second half.
“Sensational. Amazing. All-Star. MVP,” McCollum said of Lillard’s performance. “He definitely saved us. He saves us all the time.”
Mason Plumlee had 19 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Portland.
J.J. Barea scored 23 points and Harrison Barnes had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.
The Blazers led by three at halftime despite shooting only 3 for 14 on 3-pointers in the first half, but started 7 for 8 from beyond the arc in the third quarter to open a 78-62 lead.
However, Portland went 0 for 10 for the rest of the quarter and the Mavericks pulled to 79-76 entering the fourth.
After Salah Mejri’s dunk closed the gap to one, Lillard scored two quick baskets at the other end, then made a 3 with 8:18 left to put the Blazers up 89-80. The Mavericks got no closer than six the rest of the way.
“When they got it to one, I knew coach was going to put me back in a little earlier than usual,” Lillard said. “As soon as he called my name, I ran to the scorer’s table and knew what needed to happen.”
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