The bleeding continues, as the Mavs drop one to the sixth-place Trailblazers, the team most likely to finish No. 6 and therefore oppose No. 3 Dallas in Round 1 of the aforementioned playoffs.
The final score is deceptive -- the only reason it was that close is garbage-time production. Thus concludes the Last Epic Road Trip. In the broadest strokes, one could call it a 3-3 wash. That's a simplistic view; three straight back-to-backs tested the Mavs and found them wanting in what we (if not Dirk) consider frightening ways.
Home to heal up and hope the problems are fixable. The playoffs start in two weeks. Quoteboard starts now:
Status of TY's bruised back, which kept him out of the game . . .
"I don't feel like it's a long-term thing. It's just next-day stiffness and pain. We have two days off coming." -Tyson Chandler
"Obviously, we didn't have Tyson out there. He's a big part of what we do. And we're not very good without him." -Jason Terry
Props to Brendan Haywood, who started at center . . .
"I thought Brendan did a great job on Lamarcus Aldridge tonight. I think that was the best we've played him this year. Even though we split with them 2-2, I think he did the best job we've seen on Aldridge this year. You take away his easy buckets and he made him work for every shot and a lot of them were missing." -Shawn Marion
About the fatigue factor -- the Portland game makes three straight back-to-backs . . .
"Long road trip, this was the third back-to-back this week. I had never done that in my career, that's tough. Body has to adjust. You look at us out there tonight, we just didn't have that extra burst. They got every loose ball, they got all the loose rebounds, they just outhustled us, and that tells you that you have a weary team." -Jason Terry
"It always looks like you're tired when you don't make shots. And when you do make shots you get that extra adrenaline and you're bouncing around. So that's the nature of the game." -Jason Kidd
"They've been on the road for six games. We know how that feels. We know how it feels when you get down. So we just wanted to get them down early and not give them any confidence." -LaMarcus Aldridge
Oh thank goodness we're home . . .
"We need some home cooking now. Hopefully, we'll have Tyson back and then we got to go for it again. We got to play better, get more out of myself. Jet hasn't been there on this trip. J-Kidd's got to make some shots. Just all across the board." -Dirk Nowitzki
"Six in 10 days is no fun, but you've got to play what's on the schedule. We'll look back at those last three and look at some things that we have to get better at . . . but the big thing is we go back home. We've got five games left, one is on the road and the rest of them are at home. So, we've just got to finish up, get some more wins and then get ready for the playoffs." -Jason Kidd
Regarding the potential first-round matchup between the Mavericks and the Trailblazers . . .
"It's not about trying to match up with anyone. It's about winning games, finding a rhythm down the stretch and just getting to the playoffs." -LaMarcus Aldridge
"They're a tough team. They've got a lot of weapons. We feel like we've got a lot of weapons, too. If this series does happen, it'll be a great series." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"When they come in with bigger guards against our smaller guards, it puts some pressure on us defensively. We've got to be able to put pressure on them on the offensive end. That's something that, if we do play them, we'll have to look at." -Jason Kidd
"There's a good chance we'll see them in the playoffs. They're probably going to be pretty confident with that matchup." -Brendan Haywood
"It doesn't matter who we face. Either way, it's going to be tough, whether it's San Antonio, the Lakers or Dallas. I really don't have a preference." -Andre Miller
Another Rodrigue progress report . . .
"I'm not playing well right now, so I have to find a way to get back to the way I was. It's nothing crazy. I just have to play better basketball . . . I just need to keep pushing myself. Like I said, right now, I'm not playing good." -Rodrigue Beaubois
"He's at a point here where he's struggling a bit, so when you're struggling and you get pulled, you got to regroup and get ready for the next one. The games keep coming and that's a good thing." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"It's kind of hard sometimes. Everybody's in his ear. If he shoots his first shot, somebody says to drive. If he drives and is in a crowd and turns it over, it's ‘shoot the ball.' So sometimes it's hard as a young player. Everybody's on you and riding you and you got to find your way through it and find ways to make the right decisions at the right time. He'll be okay." -Dirk Nowitzki
The game in short . . .
"No excuses, we're not gonna make excuses. Our first half was poor, we knew that, we battled back in the second half, but they were better tonight." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Time to get worried about your Dallas Mavericks?
"'Worried' is a bit much. You go through ups and downs in a season. Obviously, it's a little late in the season to go through a down. That's a little disappointing. But it could be worse. It could be in the playoffs." -Dirk Nowitzki