The Blazers have now won six straight home games, a sweet shot in the arm for Rip City fans who were feeling a little glum back in December after an equally long losing streak. Damian Lillard is making a strong bid for the all-star spot which has eluded him for the past two seasons. He scored a game high 31 points on just 15 shots, leading the Blazers to victory, 117-108.
Mavericks super-vet Dirk Nowitzki scored a season high 21 points, showing he's still got a little left in the tank. Here's a shot of Shabazz Napier, the Blazers shortest player, guarding him:
There were several moments where it looked like the Blazers were going to put this game away. They went up by as much as 20 in the second quarter. Of course Dallas came back and closed the gap to 5, but things never really got that tight. Let's take a look at some of the fans in the hallways during the break:
These dudes rocked matching braids for the game:
This kid was in it for the cotton candy:
This guy drove to the game from Seattle because he's a huge Dirk Nowitzki fan and wanted to see him play before he retired:
The second half saw continued good offense by the Blazers, especially Lillard and McCollum, along with great hustle by Ed Davis on the boards. But Dallas kept in it, finding holes in the Blazer defense and hitting long shots. Former Blazer and fan favorite, Wes Matthews showed he still had the touch, leading all Dallas scorers with 23 points.
The fourth quarter featured some chippy play and one of the most ridiculous flops of the season by Dallas player Salah Mejri. The crowd went nuts on him afterwards, booing his every move and expressing extreme distaste for his acting abilities. Check out the flop here:
Things might have gotten even more chippy after that but Lillard calmed his team down and reminded them the game wasn't yet put away. Fans could see various players jawing back and forth throughout the final minutes, but it didn't affect the outcome as the Blazers sealed up the win with a closer score, perhaps, than it should have been.
Players in the locker room afterwards were laughing about Mejri's theatrics. Evan Turner said, "The guy literally threw himself to the ground and then commenced talking shit, saying he wanted to come to the locker room after..."
Luckily that didn't happen. King Dame kept things calm and cool.
The Blazers hit 18 3 pointers in this game, a season high. They currently sit in 6th place in the west and head to Denver on Monday to take on division rivals, The Nuggets. A win there would keep this season interesting.