The Portland Trail Blazers were seen by many as a popular pick to upset the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round 2011 NBA Playoffs series, but for it to have any chance at happening, the Blazers must win Game 3 Thursday night at home at 10:30 on TNT. The Blazers have fallen behind, 2-0, getting outplayed in crunch time by Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in both losses.
The Blazers are coming off a 101-89 Game 2 loss during which they let Nowitzki run wild down the stretch and gave up a combined 39 points to Jason Kidd and Peja Stojakovic on 15-24 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points for the Blazers, but their inability to generate offense in the half-court, a problem for them late in the season, has popped up again. One man who could have solved this problem in the past is Brandon Roy, but he remained on the bench and admitted he had to hold back tears of frustration because he was not in the game. Roy apologized for his comments prior to Thursday night's Game 3.
The Mavericks have gotten big performances from Kidd and Nowitzki in both of their wins, which is the kind of thing they didn't always receive against the Blazers during the regular season. Winning in Portland, one of the most difficult places to play in the entire league, is also not going to be easy. That crowd could be the difference in a tight game, like the two Dallas wins earlier in the series.