Dirk returns, but Mavs fall to Blazers

BY foxsports • December 23, 2009

Brandon Roy scored 23 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied in the fourth quarter for an 85-81 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and nine rebounds in his return to the Dallas lineup, and J.J. Barea added 22 points for the Mavericks, who had won six of seven.

Dallas held a 70-64 lead early in the fourth quarter but Portland came back with a 17-3 run that began and ended with 3-pointers from Steve Blake for an 81-73 lead with 3:48 left.

Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 1:16 left got Dallas as close as 83-81, and Dallas had a shot at a tie but Nowitzki's 17-footer rimmed out with 40 seconds to play.

Andre Miller's two free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining iced the victory.

Nowitzki missed the previous game and a half with a deep cut on his right elbow.

Dallas' top scorer who started the night averaging 26.1 points per game, Nowitzki tested his heavily-bandaged and padded elbow during a pregame shooting session at the team's practice gym, and he felt OK to play.

Nowitzki was injured Friday night in a collision with Houston's Carl Landry during an overtime loss to the Rockets. Nowitzki had two of Landry's teeth embedded in his elbow, and needed extensive treatment to clean the wound.

Nowitzki missed the second half against Houston and sat out Sunday night's 102-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Dallas labored through a 33-point first half, its lowest-scoring first half of the season, before heating up in the third quarter.

Nowitzki and Barea each scored 11 points in the third to help the Mavericks build a 65-58 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Portland held a 44-33 halftime lead. Nowitzki played the last six minutes of the second quarter, and the Blazers went on a 17-4 run during that stretch.

Nowitzki went 3 for 4 from the field in the opening quarter, but didn't take a shot in the second.

Both teams got off to cold starts, with the Mavericks hitting only 3 of their first 15 shots while the Blazers were 2 for 14 over the same stretch.

But the Trail Blazers recovered and carried an 18-14 lead into the second.

Portland center Joel Przybilla became the most recent player to get hurt when he ruptured his right patella tendon and dislocated patella in the first quarter.

Przybilla, who got the start, went up for a rebound and came down awkwardly on his right leg with 3:12 left in the opening quarter, falling to the ground in pain.

The Trail Blazers, who began the game with 11 healthy players, announced in the third quarter that Przybilla would be out indefinitely.

Portland has already lost center Greg Oden for the season with a left knee injury.

Travis Outlaw (left foot), Nicolas Batum (right shoulder), Patrick Mills (right foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back pain) have all missed extensive time for Portland this season.

Notes: Blazers coach Nate McMillan will remain on crutches for the next three weeks while recovering from a ruptured right Achilles' tendon. The team has permission from the league for Blazers assistants to take over some of the in-game coaching duties such as calling timeouts while McMillan is hobbled. ... Dallas shot 26 percent (6 for 23) in its lowest-scoring first quarter of the season. ... The Blazers were playing their fourth game in five nights.

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