PORTLAND, Ore. -- You can come up with X's and O's explanations for how the Mavs managed to blow a 23-point lead, and Rick Carlisle takes the blame for failing to make the right adjustments when Brandon Roy was blowing up in the fourth quarter.
But the biggest problem is the Mavs' showed a embarrassing lack of killer instinct in the Rose Garden.
It was a case of premature celebration that ranks right there with the city of Dallas announcing plans for a championship parade when the Mavs took a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals.
The Mavs assumed the Trail Blazers would fold down 23 late in the third. The Mavs ended up looking like fools after the the biggest comeback in Portland playoff history evened the series.
"I’m pissed off," said Shawn Marion, who spent the first 7:18 of the fourth quarter on the bench. "I’m mad that we lost this game. It was in our hands. We let them come back. We just let our guard down.
"We thought it was over with. They were down by 23 and we let our guard down."
Carlisle couldn't disagree with that take.
"I think we let up a little bit," Carlisle said. "I don't think there's any question."
It's especially ridiculous to assume a win when there is more than a quarter to play at the Rose Garden, widely considered one of the toughest places to play in the NBA.
"We can’t do that, man," Marion said. "This ain’t home court. This [arena] is rowdy as hell in here. You’ve got to know that. The crowd was quiet [when the Mavs were up 23], and this is one of the loudest arenas I’ve ever played in. They knew it. They could smell it. And we just quietly let the crowd get back into it and let them get back into it.
"That’s what happens."