It's 'B-Roy of '07-'08,' declares Matthews
by: SAM FORENCICH The Trail Blazers celebrate their win at home Tuesday over Dallas.

Wesley Matthews looked over at Brandon Roy as the teammates dressed following the Trail Blazers' 104-101 victory over Dallas Tuesday night and laughed.

'You were like the '08-'09 B-Roy tonight,' Matthews said.

'Couple of the moves,' Roy said, smiling.

'Yeah, that was '08-'09 B-Roy out there,' Matthews said with a nod.

It was vintage Roy in the second half, for sure, as the three-time All-Star guard knocked down 7 of 10 shots in the half and scored 17 of his 21 points over the game's final 15 minutes at the Rose Garden.

'That's the best I've seen him this year,' Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

Even better than his 26-point performance against Phoenix on Dec. 10?

'I can't remember back that far,' McMillan said, drawing laughs from members of the media.

It was a happy night all around for the Blazers (38-29), who took a ferocious punch from the Mavericks (47-20) early and survived to salt away one of the biggest wins of the season.

Dallas made its first 11 shots of the game - and still led only 24-21 at that point.

The Mavericks shot .639 in the first half and .597 for the game - second-best for a Portland opponent all season - and still lost.

'Dallas is a really good team,' McMillan said. (The Mavericks) 'were shooting so well in the first half. I was really impressed with our guys staying with it, not giving in, not giving up.

'We've been talking about challenging each other, encouraging each other, staying together. The guys did that tonight and found a way to get this win.'

Portland got strong performances from a number of players, including LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds and went toe-to-toe with Dallas' perennial All-Star, 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki had 28 points and 11 rebounds, but missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that could have forced overtime.

'LaMarcus looked fatigued our last two losses (at Charlotte and Atlanta),' McMillan said. 'Tonight, he looked fresh. We played through him and he had a strong finish.'

In three games against Dallas this season, Aldridge has averaged 31.0 points and 9.3 rebounds.

'He's a great player,' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. 'It's the third game where he's really hurt us. We used different coverages on him, different guys. His ability to score inside and then pop out and hit shots makes him really tough.'

Roy was, too, taking the ball to the basket and scoring after a rough first half in which he made only 2 of 7 shots.

'The first half, I missed some easy shots, but I felt good,' said Roy, still coming back from his Jan. 17 arthroscopic surgery on both knees. 'I knew the second half I was going to be aggressive, and I hoped some of those shots I'd missed were going to fall.'

Roy scored 10 straight points for Portland in the late third and early fourth quarters. McMillan sat Andre Miller the entire fourth quarter and used Roy at point guard down the stretch. He was fouled on a drive and converted a pair of free throws for a 102-99 lead with 1:38 left, then cashed in on a seven-foot pull-up jumper for a 104-99 edge with 47.8 seconds remaining.

'My body's been feeling good,' said Roy, who played 28 minutes, had no turnovers and scored the most points in a game since his return from the surgeries on Feb. 23. 'I feel like I'm getting a little more bounce back. I'm able to create some space and keep the defense guessing, and when I go to the hole, I'll shoot the ball. It was a good night for me.

'I felt like I could get to the rim (against Atlanta). I attacked the basket a little better. Tonight, I wanted to carry it over and build on that. That's my biggest threat - attack the basket, or shoot the mid-range. Tonight, all that was kind of clicking.'

Roy said he didn't want to get too excited about Tuesday's performance.

'It's a process,' he said. 'I try to stay even-keel with everything that's going on. Tonight, being able to play well was great.

'It felt good to be back out there at the top of the key on the ball, and creating some offense. Good to be back in a moment like that. Next game could be different, but I still want to have an impact of games.'

Another impact player Tuesday night was Rudy Fernandez, who came off the bench for 12 points in 22 minutes, including 2 of 3 3-pointers, and played some good defense in the clutch.

'I thought he was the difference, his pressure on the ball,' McMillan said.

McMillan shook up the starting lineup, replacing center Marcus Camby with forward Gerald Wallace and moving Aldridge to center. Wallace was so-so in his first Blazer start with eight points and five rebounds in 36 minutes, but Camby came up big, grabbing eight rebounds and swatting four shots while playing 29 minutes, including most of the fourth quarter.

'In situations like that, you can have (players) who drop their heads and make excuses,' McMillan said. 'Marcus went in and played a good game for us.'

Dallas got off to the hot start - 'It looked like they weren't going to miss a shot,' Wallace allowed - but the Blazers stayed close enough to stay in the game.

The teams wound up with the same amount of field goals (40), but Portland had 18 more attempts - 85 to 67. And the Blazers benefitted from 15 Dallas turnovers, scoring 22 points, while the Mavericks converted seven Portland miscues into eight points.

'Those two things were the story of the game,' Carlisle said.

That and the Blazers' first win with their new lineup against the No. 2 team in the West.

During Saturday's practice, 'Nate called us a bunch of guys with no chests - like we're not stocky,' Aldridge said with a smile. 'He said we have to be active - running fast, crashing the boards, using our length and our quickness. Tonight, we did all that.'

NOTES: Portland's next action is Thursday at home Thursday night against Cleveland. ... The Blazers moved into a virtual tie with New Orleans (39-30) for sixth place in the Western Conference. ... Dallas is 2-1 against Portland this season, with the series finale April 3 at the Garden. ... Dallas is in a bit of a skid, having lost four of its last six games after having won 19 of its previous 20 outings. ... The Mavericks are 36-4 when scoring 100 or more points. ... It was the eighth time this season Aldridge has scored 30 or more points. ... Matthews had 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range. He did not score in the final 20 minutes of the game. ... Miller was 2 for 9 from the field, making him 2 for 17 over the past two games. ... Jason Kidd had 14 assists for Dallas but scored only one points, taking one shot in 35 minutes.

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