DALLAS — The Portland Trail Blazers are rolling again.
The NBA’s surprise team of the season hit a recent snag but bounced back with five consecutive victories, the latest being Saturday night’s near-flawless 127-111 domination of the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center.
The Blazers were coming off a big win at San Antonio on Friday night and didn’t let up 24 hours later, scoring 35 points in the first quarter for a 12-point lead and 71 points in the first half on 59.1 percent shooting from the field to lead Dallas 71-52 at halftime.
Portland extended the lead to 104-70 after three quarters. Only a fourth-quarter, garbage-time run brought the score back to a more respectable margin — and brought the Blazers’ starters back into the game with about 4:30 to play and Portland’s massive lead knocked down to 113-98.
At 31-9, the Blazers moved into a tie with the Spurs atop the rugged Western Conference.
The Mavs (24-18) were also coming off a win on Friday night at Phoenix to wrap up the first half of the season with a seven-game improvement over last season. This was not how they hoped to
start the second half of the season in front of the home fans.
The Mavs led 6-4 with 9:25 to go in the first quarter and never got close again after a 16-5 Blazers run put them ahead 30-16.
Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge always has monster performances in his hometown and he did so again with a team-high 30 points and 12 rebounds. He finished with a plus-40 rating in 32 minutes and was 11 of 18 from the floor with two assists and three steals. Nicolas Batum had 21 points, 15 of which came in the explosive first quarter.
All five Blazers starters scored in double figures, with center Robin Lopez going for 16 points and 11 rebounds, point guard Damian Lillard posting 14 points and 10 assists and shooting guard Wesley Matthews adding 10 points.
Portland controlled every aspect of the game, including outrebounding Dallas 30-13 in the first half and 55-30 for the game.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the field. Guard Monta Ellis had 15 points, DeJuan Blair 13 and Vince Carter 11.
Portland moved to 2-0 on their difficult four-games-in-five-nights road swing that winds through Houston on Monday night and finishes at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.