DALLAS — Rick Carlisle had spent the last few days avoiding the topic of his 500th coaching victory.
He didn’t want to say or hear anything about it. But when he came into the locker room after Wednesday night’s 105-99 victory over Portland, he couldn’t sidestep the milestone any longer.
“We gave him a standing ovation when he walked in, and he got the win against one of his assistant coaches for some years,” said O.J. Mayo, referring to Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts, who worked for Carlisle for four years with the Mavericks. “We got him to 500, and hopefully I can be part of many more to come for him.”
If Mayo keeps throwing down a game-best 28 points like he did against the Blazers, he can bank on it.
The Mavericks gave up 61 first-half points, but limited Portland to 38 after halftime and wore down the Blazers, who rely heavily on their starters and have very little punch off the bench.
The Mavs didn’t play a lick of defense in the first half, when Portland rookie Damian Lillard was picking Dallas apart with 15 points and five assists. He would not make a shot in the second half and picked up just one more assist.
The Blazers shot just 30 percent in the fourth quarter and were 1-for-10 from 3-point range. They were 9-for-16 at halftime.
Down the stretch, Mayo took over with a couple of buckets as the Mavericks went up 97-88. Though Portland cut it to 97-94, Carter nailed a long jumper with 26.9 seconds to go after Mayo got a nice offensive rebound to ice it.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Wesley Matthews tallied 21 points and Damian Lillard scored 19 points and dished out six assists for the Trail Blazers, who saw their two-game win streak come to an end.