Here are our second-chance points we want to make about the Mavericks’ 96-95 win at Portland on Wednesday night, which was their first victory of the season by less than eight points:
Powell knew it: Even though the game came down to the final possession, Dwight Powell had a good feeling about it. Actually, he was dead-solid certain that the Mavericks were going to win the game when he saw Wesley Matthews guarding Damian Lillard after the Blazers inbounded the ball with 9.8 seconds to go and the Mavericks up by a point. “It’s nothing new,” Powell said. “I’m not surprised at all. I knew if they tried to go one-on-one, we’d win the game if Wes was guarding him.”
Backcourt blitzers: The Mavericks have always thought the backcourt tandem of Deron Williams and Matthews could do this sort of damage on a regular basis. They combined for 39 points, eight assists and nine rebounds. While they did not shoot the 3-ball well, they were effective at both ends of the court. Over the past six games, Williams has averaged 18.7 points and Matthews 13.7 points.
Misery loves company: The Blazers may be more messed up right now than the Mavericks. They now have lost eight of nine games and had a slew of possessions against the Mavericks when one player tried to dominate the ball. When they shared it, they generally scored. The Blazers are 13-18 and in a virtual tie with Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Of course, as Rick Carlisle pointed out before the game, the Blazers were 11-20 last season at this time and recovered to make the playoffs and win their first-round series.
The Dirk watch: Dirk Nowitzki got in a workout before the game and was moving fine afterward. The acid test for his right Achilles will come Thursday when the Mavericks practice at USC in Los Angeles. Though Matthews played over 40 minutes and Harrison Barnes played over 36, the Mavericks have to get a practice in for Nowitzki’s sake. How he comes out of that will determine whether he plays Friday against the Clippers.