Three-guard lineup scrambles, falls short

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has rolled out a three-guard lineup many times this season and in previous seasons when his team needs an offensive jolt.

So with the Portland Trail Blazers extending a 75-72 lead at the end of the third quarter to 85-74 at the 8:40 mark of the fourth quarter, Carlisle made the move for the first time in the series.

J.J. Barea and Jason Terry had started the fourth with Peja Stojakovic, Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki. Two minutes in Tyson Chandler replaced Marion and then 1:20 later Jason Kidd checked in (a little earlier than usual) for Stojakovic. That lineup (with the exception of Brendan Haywood replacing Chandler who fouled out at the 7:24 mark) would stick together until the final minutes of the 97-92 Game 3 loss.

They didn't get the job done.

Dallas scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, shot 41.2 percent (and just 1-of-4 from beyond the arc), their worst quarter of the game, and was just 5-of-10 from the free throw line.

"We were in a deficit so we needed play-making and attackers out there," Carlisle said. "When you do that, you have other things that come into play."

The three guards accounted for nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from the free throw line with Barea being the only one to get there. Terry was 10-of-13 from the floor in the game, but 1-of-3 in the fourth quarter. Still, the Mavs managed to close an 87-74 deficit with 8:05 to play to 95-90 with 42.9 seconds left and 95-92 with 12.9 to go.

Defensively, the Mavs held the Blazers to 38.9 percent shooting. And it wasn't the guard mismatches that propelled Portland. Their quiet forwards got into the act with Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum, who had combined for two points through three quarters, scored 12 of 22 points. Andre Miller was the only Portland guard to score in the fourth with four points.