Matthews returns and Mavs defeat Trail Blazers 115-112 in OT
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) First, Wesley Matthews appreciated the ovation. Then he appreciated the win.
Matthews returned to Portland for the first time since signing with Dallas as a free agent and helped the Mavericks rally past the Trail Blazers 115-112 in overtime Tuesday night.
''We're a veteran team, we're a smart team, so we just turned our level of intensity up and secured a big win,'' said Matthews, who scored 18 points after he was greeted with a standing ovation to start the game.
Deron Williams had a season-high 30 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 28 as the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak on the road.
Matthews hit consecutive 3-pointers to pull Dallas to 89-85 in regulation. Nowitzki's 3-pointer narrowed it to 96-94 before his tip shot tied it, and Damian Lillard missed a 3 at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
The Mavs outscored the Blazers 9-3 to open the extra period, taking a 103-99 lead on Nowitzki's long jumper with 1:20 left. Lillard's layup got Portland to 108-103, but ultimately the Blazers couldn't catch up.
Lillard finished with 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Meyers Leonard had 23 points and Portland's bench outscored the Dallas reserves 73-16.
The Blazers were left wondering how they let a seven-point lead slip away in the final 1:40 of regulation. Portland led 96-89.
''That's a tough loss to swallow. This is one we have to get,'' Leonard said. ''We should have had this win flat-out tonight, however we didn't. Now we need to study the film and find out what we can do better, especially in late-game situations.''
Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Portland lost 102-87 at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, and the Mavericks were beaten 112-98 in Sacramento.
Matthews was a fan favorite during his five years in Portland. Last spring, the Blazers were in the midst of a five-game winning streak on the way to the playoffs when he tore his Achilles during a game against the Mavericks.
Portland went on to lose to Memphis in the first round, and four starters from that team – Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge – all left in the offseason. A free agent, Matthews signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Mavericks.
He was flattered by the reception in his return to Portland.
''It was amazing. I didn't really know what to expect, but these fans have been amazing to me since I got here,'' Matthews said. ''It meant a lot.''
Lillard is the only starter remaining with the Blazers, who got off to a slow start on Tuesday, falling behind 20-5 in the opening quarter. Lillard played only about 16 minutes on Monday night against the Clippers because of a stomach virus.
Matthews' 3-pointer stretched the Mavericks' lead to 27-18 at the end of the opening quarter. Portland responded with a 9-2 run to close to 29-27 in the second, but couldn't sustain the rally and Dallas went up 44-32 on Charlie Villanueva's 3-pointer.
The Blazers came back again to tie it at 48 on CJ McCollum's 3-pointer, and Portland finally pulled ahead on Gerald Henderson's corner 3 to beat the buzzer.
Portland stretched the lead to 63-52 on Leonard's short jumper, but Nowitzki hit a jumper that gave Dallas a 74-71 lead as the third quarter drew to a close.
Portland took an 87-79 lead on Lillard's left-handed layup with 6:17 left.
Mavericks: Dallas was without J.J. Barea for a third game because of a sprained right ankle. … It was the first overtime game of the season for the Mavs.
Trail Blazers: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game, and took selfies with a number of fans. … Allen Crabbe has made a 3-pointer in 10 straight games, the longest such streak for a Blazers player this season. Crabbe finished with a career-high 18 points.
PACHULIA'S BIG NIGHT
In the midst of all the buzz about Matthews' return and the drama of the overtime victory, Dallas center ZaZa Pachulia had 14 points and 21 rebounds. The rebounds matched the career high he set in March against the Nets.
''He's just real smart in there. He uses his body and he's a little more athletic than he appears,'' Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. ''He's quick to the ball and his strength and timing is really uncanny.''
It was Pachulia's 12th double-double this season.
The Mavericks host Houston on Friday.
The Trail Blazers host Indiana on Thursday.