(SportsNetwork. Steve Blake Jersey .com) - Two of the Western Conferences postseason teams from a season ago tangle early in this campaign when the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Dallas Mavericks to the Moda Center. Theyre a great team, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. Theyre a playoff team, and theyre a different team than what weve seen with the quality of their big men and their 3-point shooting ability straight across the board. Its a tough matchup, and thats always a very difficult place to play. The Mavs begin this mini road trip on a roll, winning three straight and vaulting into the league lead in scoring at 111.8 ppg. Dallas will also visit the Utah Jazz on Friday before returning home. The Mavericks reached 3-1 Monday night with a 118-113 victory at home over the Boston Celtics. Chandler Parsons scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting, but the Mavs nearly squandered a 26-point lead. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley fueled the Celtics comeback, totaling 35 and 32 points, respectively. Bradley had a chance to tie things at the free throw line with 39.5 seconds to go but only made two of his three attempts. Monta Ellis, after fouling Bradley behind the arc, ended Bostons 9-0 run with a tough runner off the glass to give Dallas a 116-113 lead. He made two more free throws to seal the win. They are scrappy and you know that they are going to continue to fight back, Mavs center Tyson Chandler said of the Celtics. Dirk Nowitzki netted 27 points with seven rebounds while Ellis added 14 points for the Mavs. Chandler posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards, while Devin Harris managed 12 points. The Mavs shot 53.7 percent from the floor and 56 percent from long range. The Blazers got back on track Tuesday night. They halted a two-game slide with an emphatic statement game, a 101-82 home victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Needless to say, it was good to get a win, said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. But more importantly, it was how we got it, how we played. That looked like the team that we need to be. We withstood their barrage in the first quarter, stayed with our schemes and our coverages and the next 3 1/2 quarters, we did a great job defensively. We stuck with the defense and we got rhythm to the offense. It was a solid win at both ends of the court. The Cavs opened the game 10-for-10 from the field, but tailed off offensively. Cleveland never posted 20 points in the remaining three quarters and finished the contest with 13 points over the final 12 minutes. Damian Lillard busted out of his shooting slump with 27 points. He went 6- for-13 from the field, 5-for-10 from long range and 10-for-10 from the foul line. Its the same game that Ive been playing, said Lillard. The only difference was the shots just went in. It was pretty simple: just play the game. I thought we did a great job of moving the ball and everybody defended well. Wes Matthews (21), Robin Lopez (19) and LaMarcus Aldridge (16) finished in double figures. The Blazers also held the fabled James to just 11 points. The Mavs won two of three against the Blazers last season and have captured 10 of the last 15 meetings. Dallas is 12-6 in its last 18 in Rose City. Kent Bazemore Jersey . Some members of the U.S. Congress arent so sure. They say Russia isnt doing enough to assure that athletes will be protected at the Feb. 7-23 games, happening not far from an Islamic insurgency that Russias huge security apparatus has struggled for two decades to quell. Russia may run greater risks in towns outside the tightly controlled Olympic zone. Suicide bombs last month a few hundred kilometres (miles) away have increased concerns, and an Islamic warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putins pet project. CJ McCollum Jersey . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota (5): He was calm, poised, and looked comfortable all game. SAN ANTONIO -- Portland coach Terry Stotts is running out of adjectives and analogies to describe the San Antonio Spurs dominance in the second quarter. Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points, Tony Parker had 16 points and 10 assists, and San Antonio rolled to a 114-97 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday night for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. After being struck by a "tidal wave" during the second quarter of the opener, Portland took on even more water in Game 2. "The onslaught at the beginning of the second quarter was obviously the turning point in the game," Stotts said. Boris Diaw scored six straight points to ignite a 23-8 run that gave San Antonio a 54-36 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the first half. The Spurs outscored the Trail Blazers 41-25 in the second quarter, raising their advantage to 77-48 in that period in winning the first two games of the best-of-seven series convincingly. Nicolas Batum scored 21 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 10 rebounds, but the Trail Blazers All-Star duo put up 43 shots. Aldridge was 6 for 23, missing back-to-back dunks in the second quarter. "We missed a lot of shots," Aldridge said. "I definitely wasnt in a good rhythm tonight. I missed two dunks and four or five layups, so if those shots go in, then the whole game is different." The Trail Blazers host Game 3 on Saturday night. Manu Ginobili added 16 points, Marco Belinelli scored 13 and Diaw had 12 as San Antonios reserves outscored Portlands 50-19. Making matters worse for the Trail Blazers, reserve Mo Williams was limited to 9 minutes due to a groin injury. He finished with four points. "Our bench is coming alive," Parker said. "They had a hard first round. They had a hard time against Dallas, but the last two games the bench is playing well." The Trail Blazers, who found a snake in their locker room before the game, had a much better start than in Game 1. Batums 3-pointer gave Portland its first lead of series at 7-4 with 9:47 remaining in the first quarter. It lasted for 16 seconds before Leonards 3 tied it. San Antonio soon began using the quicker pace to force turnovers and find open shooters. The Spurs had 17 fast-break pooints in the first half compared to two by the Trail Blazers. Anfernee Simons Jersey. . Wesley Matthews was clearly frustrated, taking his mouthpiece out and looking upward in frustration before glaring at his teammates. Matthews responded by scoring 10 straight points in the third quarter while San Antonio went scoreless for 4 minutes, pulling Portland within 81-69 with 2 minutes remaining in the third. After losing 116-92 in the opener, Portland was sparked by greater activity by Robin Lopez, who had six rebounds and a blocked shot in the opening six minutes. He struggled once Diaw entered the game. Portland did not allow any fast-break points in the second half, closing within 10 points midway through the final quarter. Lillards 18-foot jumper pulled the Blazers within 92-80 with 9:17 remaining and his driving layup a minute and half later cut the margin to 94-84. Batum, who was 1 for 5 on 3-pointers in Game 1, hit his third of the game to cut the lead to 99-91 with 5:37 remaining. "The first two games, they went on a big run in the first half of both games," Lillard said. "Then in the second half, we come out and make those adjustments and those corrections and clean things up and then we play a much better half. We have to do a better job of taking away those second chances." The Trail Blazers had a chance to close within seven inside 5 minutes, but Leonard blocked Matthews layup from behind to maintain the Spurs advantage at 102-93. Parker followed with a jumper in the lane on Lillard, and Leonard and Ginobili hit back-to-back 3s to put San Antonio up 110-93 and put the game out of reach. NOTES: Portlands Thomas Robinson found the snake two hours before tipoff when he reached for a bag in his locker. The team initially thought it was a baby rattlesnake, but stadium officials later determined it was a non-venomous snake. The snake was estimated between 3 to 4 feet in length. ... Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was honoured before the tip after being awarded NBA Executive of the Year on Wednesday. Buford, who won the award for the first time in his 12th season as the teams general manager, received a rousing ovation from the sell-out crowd. ... Parker had to towel off after having beer spilled on his left leg when he tumbled into the courtside seats 2 minutes into the game. ' ' '
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