Mavericks have control heading into Game 6

The Dallas Mavericks recovered from the embarrassment of
squandering a 23-point lead against the Trail Blazers, taking
command of their first-round playoff series with a determined
victory at home.

Now they must break this season’s losing tradition at the Rose
Garden.

The third-seeded Mavs hold a 3-2 advantage in the series that
shifts back to Portland on Thursday. Dallas got control of the
series with a 93-82 victory at home on Monday.

The Mavericks have yet to win in Portland this season. Both
teams held home court in four meetings during the regular season,
and both have stayed that course in the playoffs.

Sixth-seeded Portland’s most recent win in the series was
Saturday, when Brandon Roy led his team from a 67-44 deficit late
in the third quarter to a 84-82 victory.

It was important for the Mavs to put that game behind them.

”Yeah, it was a frustrating loss, but we have a lot of veterans
who have been through a lot and seen a lot,” Dirk Nowitzki said.
”You want to close it out when you get a chance. They got us twice
up there, but we’ve been a good road team all year.”

The Mavs were 28-13 on the road during the regular season,
matching the Miami Heat for the league’s best. Dallas topped the
league the previous season at 27-14.

Since the start of the 2006 NBA Finals – which the Mavs lost in
seven games to Miami after taking a 2-0 series lead – Dallas has
gone just 2-18 on the road in the postseason.

Dallas has been eliminated in the first round in three of the
past four seasons.

Portland, meanwhile, has won 12 of its last 13 games at the Rose
Garden. Overall against the Mavericks, the Blazers are 46-18
all-time in Portland, and 8-1 in playoff games.

Portland center Marcus Camby was not putting too much stock in
those numbers for Game 6.

”We can’t really on being home as a cure-all,” he said. ”We
have to play a whole lot better.”

The Blazers have been drummed from the playoffs in the first
round for the past two seasons.

In Dallas, the Mavs seemed to find an answer for Roy, who was
heralded after he scored 24 points in Game 4, including 18 in the
Blazers’ stunning fourth-quarter comeback.

Roy had struggled earlier in the season with knee trouble, the
result of too little cartilage between bones. He finally underwent
arthroscopic surgery in January, and the three-time All-Star – for
years the face of the franchise – was relegated to a bench
role.

On Monday, the Mavericks limited Roy to five points in just over
26 minutes.

”They didn’t really make an adjustment, other than a change in
defense. They went zone, the zone worked for a few possessions and
they stayed with it,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. ”They
felt that it had disrupted us, and they stayed with it.”

In addition to the zone, Portland has had trouble all series
long against the Mavericks’ pick-and-roll. And the Blazers’ top
scorer, LaMarcus Aldridge, has seen his point total diminish from a
high of 27 points in Game 1 to just 12 in Game 5.

Roy suspects the Mavs won’t make it any easier in Game 6.

”We can’t just go home and expect to play well. We have to play
like it’s our last game,” Roy said. ”Our fans have been great,
but we were down 20-something points. We have to show we want
it.”