Point guard Deron Williams propelled the Dallas Mavericks to a 96-95 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, pouring in 23 points for the second straight game at the Moda Center on Wednesday.
No. 8 also registered five boards and five assists, as one of four Mavericks to reach double-digit scoring. Harrison Barnes paced the team with 28 points, Wesley Matthews pitched in 16 and Seth Curry added 12.
“I think slowly but surely we’re starting to put together games and starting to get it,” Barnes said. “Now, it’s just about getting over the hump. I think tonight was a great example of that, especially on the road. I think we’ve shown it at home, and tonight was big for us.”
Dallas led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter, while Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the period to keep the Blazers afloat.
D-Will either scored or assisted on six of Dallas’ first seven field goals on the night, draining a 3-pointer, finding Matthews for a layup, feeding Barnes for a jumper, hitting a long two, dishing to Barnes for a turnaround J and pulling up for a trey to give Dallas a 16-10 edge with 6:39 to go.
Deron subbed out about a minute later, as Dallas carried a 30-20 advantage into the second stanza.
“You know, I thought defensively in the first quarter we came out and we had some carryover from the Denver game. And I thought we did a much better job of maintaining it throughout the game,” Barnes said. “We had some good moments and some bad moments, but I thought for the most part, we kept our composure and just kept plugging away.”
No. 8 notched an additional nine points in the second, beginning with an eight-foot floater to give the Mavs a double-digit lead the remainder of the half, 36-25.
Later in the second, Deron gave Dallas its first 20-point advantage, driving in for another floater and hitting the and-one, 57-36. He continued to contribute, connecting on the Mavs’ following two field goals, as they held a 36-24 edge at the half.
The Mavs struggled in the third period, as Portland outscored them 33-19, pulling as close as nine, 75-66, at the 1:36 mark.
The Blazers continued to close the gap in the final frame. Lillard had the chance to flip the lead with the game’s final shot, but Matthews’ pressure defense forced him to take a contested triple that hit off the iron as the buzzer sounded.
”Obviously, I’ve been his teammate so I know the kind of clutch gene he has,” said Matthews, who played in Portland from 2010-15. ”We ended up getting the stop that we needed.”
Matthews’ game-winning stop gave the Mavs (8-21) their second win in three games, handing the Blazers their eighth setback in nine.
“You know, you’re going to come up against some adversity on the road,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But every time something bad happened we responded with composure, aggression and togetherness, and that was a great sign.”
Deron and the Mavs play the third game of their four-game road trip, competing at the Los Angeles Clippers (21-8) on Friday, Dec. 23. Tipoff from the Staples Center is set for 9:30 p.m. CT, with the game viewable on NBATV.
Dallas looks to even this season’s series at one after falling 124-104 at home Nov. 24. D-Will missed the matchup with a calf strain, as the Clippers picked up their NBA-leading 14th win at the time.
L.A. has won five of its past six, most recently topping the Denver Nuggets at home, 119-102. Blake Griffin (21.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.7apg), Chris Paul (17.6 ppg, 9.7 apg, 2.3 spg) and DeAndre Jordan (11.8 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 1.8b pg) have been leading the Clips in production.