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Aldridge, Trail Blazers roll past Mavericks 127-111 for fifth straight victory

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DALLAS - The Portland Trail Blazers no longer are chasing the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA's Western Conference.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and the Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 127-111 on Saturday night to pull even with the Spurs at 31-9.

The Trail Blazers have won five consecutive games, including a 109-100 victory at San Antonio on Friday.

"I was really proud of the way our team played, especially on the heels of an emotional win in San Antonio," coach Terry Stotts said. "Our resolve, defensively, I thought was very good and got us into a position to have a large lead."

The lead reached 38 points at 111-73 with 9:43 to play. A 25-2 surge against Portland's bench brought Dallas within 15 points with 4:38 remaining before the starters returned to restore order.

The Trail Blazers, the NBA's highest-scoring team, reached 30 points in the first quarter for the 14th time in 2013-14, and 100 points in three quarters for the fourth time.

"We are just playing great basketball right now," Aldridge said. "Whenever guys guard the way they can, this team is good."

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 18 points in 21 minutes.

All five Portland starters scored in double figures, and Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Damian Lillard (14 points, 10 assists) each recorded a double-double.

"The first three quarters were beyond embarrassing," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were poor on offence, too. We weren't playing together. We weren't helping each other.

"You do that against a high-level quality team like Portland, they're going to make you pay a heavy price."

Portland outrebounded Dallas 55-30, scored 60 points in the paint and had 22 second-chance points.

Nicolas Batum shot 6 for 7 and scored 15 of his 21 points in the first quarter as the Trail Blazers opened a 35-23 lead.

"They were double-teaming LaMarcus," Batum said, "so the other four guys around him moved around to get open. We're a shooting team."

Portland shot 51 per cent (46 for 90) for the game, including 59 per cent (26 for 44) for a 71-52 halftime lead.

The Trail Blazers' defence also was superb, holding the Mavericks to 39 per cent shooting (26 for 66) while running up a 104-70 lead after three quarters.

Portland had 30 fast-break points to Dallas' 5.

"They're obviously a tough team to defend," Nowitzki said. "They have LaMarcus on the block and they have shooters out there. They really got whatever they wanted for three quarters and they were very good."

Carlisle found a silver lining in the fourth quarter, when the Mavericks outscored the Trail Blazers 41-23.

"The guys that were in there in the fourth quarter really fought," he said. "I'm going to find guys that will fight and get them in the game, simple as that."

Jae Crowder scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, and DeJuan Blair had 11 of his 13.

The Mavericks' Devin Harris played 17 minutes and scored six points in his first game this season following toe surgery.

Harris played the first 3 1/2 of his 10 NBA seasons with Dallas, and re-signed with the team last summer, but missed the first 41 games.

He received a standing ovation when he entered the game with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter. Harris missed his first two free throws, but hit a long 2-point field goal at the buzzer later in the quarter.

"I actually like what I saw," Nowitzki said. "We're looking forward to getting him out there more and more and playing at a high level."

Portland's lead grew to 18 in the second quarter, but the Mavericks battled back within 54-46 with an 18-8 run. With the Trail Blazers' starting lineup back in the game, they scored 17 of the final 23 points in the second quarter.

Aldridge and Batum each had 17 first-half points.

The third quarter also started well for Portland, which quickly stretched its advantage to 83-58.

NOTES: Dallas' Shawn Marion made his 1,000th NBA start. . The Trail Blazers are just 8-6 when they have scored 30-plus points in the first quarter, but they're 4-0 when reaching 100 in just three quarters. They entered the night averaging 109.1 points per game. ... The Mavericks reassigned rookie guard Ricky Ledo to Texas of the NBA Development League. He has played in only nine games for Dallas, averaging 3.3 minutes and 1.9 points. ... Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 for confronting officials on the court and using inappropriate language after Wednesday's game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. ... When asked what knowledge Stotts had gained after Portland won only 33 games last season, Carlisle joked about his former assistant, "You mean other than what he stole here?"

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