DALLAS -- Portland Trail Blazers starting center Marcus Camby took a seat 1:16 into the fourth quarter and never returned. He sat on the bench and watched Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry drive the paint and walk to the free throw line for a combined 19 attempts.
Camby wasn't in foul trouble. He had grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked two shots. He made two of three shots he took and made two beautiful alley-oop passes to teammate LaMarcus Aldridge. He had logged 29 minutes, right at his season average. Before he sat down, Nowitzki, who shot 13 free throws in the fourth quarter, hadn't stepped foot on the free throw line. Terry had made one trip for two shots. The Mavs, who finished with 29 free throw attempts, had taken just 10.
Thirty-six seconds after Aldridge subbed in for Camby, Nowitzki went to the line for the first time in the game. Eleven of Nowitzki's 13 attempts -- his most since Nov. 24 -- in the final 10:08 came with the score fluctuating between Dallas being down five and up two.
"I wasn’t out there. I thought I could have erased a lot of mistakes out there," the 6-11 Camby said prior to the Blazers' practice Monday afternoon. "I think our defense was great. We just got back-doored a little bit and once we got into the penalty situation it was real tough to contain those guys because they’re so good with the basketball."
Nowitzki's final two free throws with 11 seconds left put the finishing touches on an 89-81 victory, one that saw Dallas make just four field goals in the fourth quarter, yet win the game by going 18-of-19 at the free throw line.
Camby, 37, said he would have liked to have been on the floor to put an end to the Dallas Mavericks' parade of free throws. Coach Nate McMillan rode a smaller lineup with the 6-foot-11 Aldridge surrounded by Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace and a combination of Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller.
So, is Camby campaigning to be on the floor in the fourth quarter of Game 2?
"No, no," Camby said. "Like Tyson Chandler controls the paint, I can control it also. "