PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dirk Nowitzki finished with 33 points, his second game of 30 or more in the series. Jason Terry had 22, his second in a row with at least 20. And Jason Kidd, as he has seemingly done on so many occasions, hit another big 3-pointer and made a key steal down the stretch when he wasn't having the best of games.
Each made big plays when it counted most, just as the Mavs were in the process of blowing a 13-point lead heading into the fourth quarter as the Blazers closed to 86-85.
"Tonight, Nowitzki, Kidd and Terry weren't going to let us lose the game. It was simple as that," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "...They made a run in the fourth. We've had teams make runs at us all year, but there wasn't going to be a miracle tonight."
Had the Mavs blown a lead that grew to 17 points with just more than a minute to play in the third quarter two games after suffering one of the three worst losses in the last 57 years of NBA playoff basketball, who knows if they could have recovered a second time in a Game 7.
Carlisle is glad they recovered in time Thursday night at the Rose Garden and don't have to find out.
"A big part of life is acceptance of your situation, whatever it is. And you've got to make the best of whatever is thrown at you and thrown your way. And, hey, I tell you what, I tell you this, walking in this place and playing a playoff game is no fun, brother. This is the loudest place I've ever been and I've been in a lot of places in 27 years, trust me.
"For our guys to hang in and be able to win in this environment is huge for us. To go through what we went through in Game 4, these things happen for a reason. But we feel our work has just begun."