How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks shot 59.7 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from 3-point range, got a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds from Dirk Nowitzki, 16 points from Roddy Beaubois and 14 assists by Jason Kidd -- yet lost 104-101 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Nowitzki missed a potential tying 3-pointer from the corner after a pump fake in the final seconds, but it was a rushed attempt as the final play, with 8.8 seconds to go, broke down from the start on a tipped inbounds pass from Beaubois. Nowitzki missed a game-winning attempt at New Orleans a week ago.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge drilled the Mavs for a third consecutive time this season. He finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, while drawing Mavs center Tyson Chandler into foul trouble. A technical foul on Chandler after he picked up his fourth foul against Aldridge shifted the momentum in Portland's favor. Moments earlier, the Mavs had their biggest lead of the game of eight points.
Beaubois started off red hot and made 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He had 11 points at halftime, but finished with just 16 after making a 3-pointer and layup at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter. After leaving the game with 2:54 to go in the third, Beaubois didn't check back in until eight seconds remained in the game. He finished hitting 6-of-8 shots in 22 minutes, and coach Rick Carlisle will again be susceptible to criticism for his handling of a hot, young player.
Jason Terry finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, but he had all three of his turnovers on bad passes in the fourth quarter.
Kidd missed his only shot attempt in the fourth quarter, a 3-point try, and had one of his three turnovers in the final period.
Shawn Marion had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Chandler finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Chandler had his second tough outing guarding Aldridge, one of the West's premiere big men. On Saturday, Chandler had all he could handle with Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who went for 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Portland scored 48 points in the paint and shot 10 more free throws than the Mavs.
Wesley Matthews had 18 points for the Blazers and was 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Brandon Roy came off the bench and scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half. Rudy Fernandez had 12 points.
The Mavs dropped to third in the West and the Blazers moved up to sixth, meaning the teams remain positioned to open the first-round of the playoffs.
What it means: Dallas lost for the fourth time in six games and slipped to third place in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers. It was the Mavs' fourth consecutive defeat to a potential playoff opponent in the past 10 days and three to possible first-round foes -- Memphis, New Orleans and Portland. The Lakers, a would-be second-round opponent, beat the Mavs on Saturday. Dallas' past five losses have been by a combined 11 points.
Play of the game: With 5:20 to go in third quarter and the Mavs beginning to take control, 71-64, Aldridge made a move to the bucket and got fouled by Chandler. Chandler didn't like the call and slapped the ball down and into the front row along the baseline, drawing a technical foul. Andre Miller made the technical to make it 71-65. Aldridge then made the first free throw to cut the deficit to five points, but missed the second. However, Nicolas Batum snuck in for the tip and the bucket to make it 71-68 for a 4-point possession. Meanwhile, Chandler had to take a seat with his fourth personal foul on a night that backup center Brendan Haywood was a late scratch with lower back stiffness. Portland led 82-80 at the end of the third quarter.
Stat of the night: The Mavs made their first 11 shots of the game, but only led 26-25 at the 2:46 mark of the first quarter.