Dallas 91, Portland 80

Portland has actually been going to Aldridge early lately. And he has produced. He made Portland's first couple buckets, then disappeared for long stretches without even getting shots. Still, he finished 4 -5 in the quarter for 8 points.

Portland, as has become their way, struggled to score far more in the second quarter than the first. When you only score 19 in the first, that is a problem. And here is a bigger problem. On a night they are struggling to score at every position but one, the first shot their best scorer got came with 3:32 left in the quarter. And he made it. He would get but two more shots in the quarter, both inside the last 29 seconds (he made one). Portland scored but 17 points.

This is a running theme this year. Portland struggles to get enough shots for their best scorers/shooters. Aldridge is shooting .527% from the field...he should be getting 20 - 25 shots a night or more. High percentage, efficient scoring...they need more of that. Portland should look to Aldridge for maybe 25 points a night on this particular version of the team. Frankly, nobody else...including, surprisingly, Brandon capable of consistent, efficient scoring on this team.

Oh, sure, there are guys capable of the occasional explosive night...Outlaw had 26 one night, I would be surprised if at some point in the season Webster did not eclipse the 25 point mark, Roy is a better player than he has shown so far, Jack has bettered the 20 point mark a few times...but at this point, nobody is playing very consistently. In a quarter where you score 17 points...and a half where you score 36...there is no excuse for getting Aldridge just 8 shots. He scored a third of their points in the first half...they need to ride that horse. They were fortunate to only be down 8.

On the bright side, Portland identified this...and got Aldridge TWO official shots in the third period. He did get to the line twice..and turned the ball four shots for the period. Not enough. On the bright side, Portland "exploded" for a 23 point quarter. Not as many as the 32 Dallas put up...but certainly better than 19 or 17. Too bad the defense disappeared...

So once more Portland holds Nowitzki to 11 points...and once more it does not matter as they lose by a comfortable margin. They struggle to score, putting up just 80 points, and lose yet again on the road. This season started off so promisingly and is sinking pretty quick. It will get worse before it gets better.

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