Deron Williams made it back-to-back double-doubles, but the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t make it back-to-back wins over the Portland Trail Blazers.
One night after snapping for 31 points and 16 assists to beat the Blazers, D-Will tallied 12 points and 11 dimes, but the Mavs fell 109-103 and slipped to a tie for seventh in the Western Conference standings with the Utah Jazz.
The Mavs have stumbled a bit over a treacherous stretch in their schedule. Dallas could have to go the rest of the way without star forward Chandler Parsons, who is sidelined with a knee injury. But No. 8 believes his team can rally.
“Hopefully we can rally,” Deron said. “That’s the plan. We don’t just want to lay down because a guy gets injured. We have to pick each other up, fill the void, and try to make a playoff push.”
Dallas is yet to announce the long-term plan for Parsons, other than ruling him out for the four-game road trip that began Wednesday night in Portland. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle talked about how Deron will be, and has already been, instrumental to the team with Parsons out.
“Whether Parsons is playing or not, Deron’s such an important player for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a big job, but he’s been in lots of enormous games. I know he’s looking forward to the challenge like we all are.”
In the two games Parsons has missed, Deron hasn’t disappointed. He has added seven rebounds and four steals to 43 points and 27 assists in consecutive games against Portland.
“I love his aggression, I love the way he’s attacking,” Carlisle said. “They’re paying an awful lot of attention to him, so he’s not getting a lot of easy shots.”
Deron did most of his facilitating in the first half and most of his scoring in the second.
D-Will lent a helping hand three times over the first three minutes to make it nine-all. He again tied it at 13 with another assist, this time to Salah Mejri for an alley-oop dunk, before giving the Mavs a 16-15 advantage with a pass to Matthews for an open triple.
Wesley Matthews totaled 22 points against his former team and Dirk Nowitzki tallied 21, while Mejri and JJ Barea each added 14.
“Any time injuries happen, especially to one of your best players, other guys have to step up,” Deron said. “That’s the case with what we’ve got going on right now. Chandler means a lot to this team, on both ends of the floor. Without him, we’ve got to fill the void in a lot of different areas.”
Dallas’s lead didn’t last long, though. The Blazers ended the Mavs’ following possession prematurely with a steal, which translated to a running layup. With that, Portland took a lead it would not relinquish until late in the second stanza.
Nowitzki reclaimed the lead with an elbow jumper, 53-52, thanks to a slick bounce pass from Deron. But point guard Damian Lillard (27 points, six assists) scored the final five points of the half to send the Blazers into the break with a 57-53 advantage.
D-Will scored the first points for Dallas in the second half before Portland pushed its lead to as many as 15 in the final frame with 3:35 remaining. That’s when Deron scored six points to help close the gap to as little as five, 108-103, with 12.3 seconds remaining.
“(Deron) and Dirk are the two best players, so they’re all over those two guys and it’s difficult,” Carlisle said. “But hey, the guy fought his butt off the entire game and I love the way he competed. We just need him to keep doing that the last 11 games.”
Both teams shot roughly 44 percent from the floor, but Portland’s aggression resulted in a big advantage at the free throw line. The Blazers sank 22 of 25 shots from the stripe, while the Mavericks knocked down just 10 of 11.
But Carlisle identified ball security as the difference in the game. Dallas surrendered 22 points on 17 giveaways. The Blazers’ ability to force turnovers allowed them to get out in transition for 19 points.
“The turnovers were a big problem, and right from the beginning,” Carlisle said. “I thought we were competing well and getting good shots, but that was a big part of it. They made more plays than we did.”
The Mavericks’ tough stretch continues when they face the Golden State Warriors for the second Friday in a row. Tipoff is set 9:30 p.m. CT at Oracle Arena.
Dallas (35-36) will be looking to achieve a season series split with Golden State (64-7) after falling in their two most recent meetings. In the Mavericks’ 130-112 loss March 18, Deron tallied 11 points with three rebounds and seven assists.
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS – 3/24
- y – Golden State Warriors (64-7)
- y – San Antonio Spurs (60-11) 4 GB
- y – Oklahoma City Thunder (49-22) 15 GB
- Los Angeles Clippers (43-27) 20.5 GB
- Memphis Grizzlies (41-31) 23.5 GB
- Portland Trail Blazers (37-35) 27.5 GB
- Dallas Mavericks (35-36) 29 GB
- Utah Jazz (35-36) 29 GB
y – Clinched division
- Game Book: Mavericks at Blazers (NBA, Mar. 23, 2016)
- Trail Blazers hold on to beat Mavericks (AP, Mar. 24, 2016)
- Mavs know they must step up with Parsons sidelined (Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 22, 2016)
- Game 71: Mavs at Trail Blazers (Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 23, 2016)
- With Parsons out, Mavs need Williams to step up (Dallas Morning News, Mar. 23, 2016)
- Sloppy Mavericks slide into tie for seventh (Fort Worth Star Telegram, Mar. 23, 2016)
- Practice Report: Deron Williams (Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 22, 2016)