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.”