"I told (guard Jose) Calderon to give me the ball, I'm ready for it," the Dallas guard said of his game-winning shot, a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer in a 108-106 victory over the PORTLAND Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Moda Center.
"I was born for it," Ellis said of the game-winning situation. "I love that time of the game. I've hit a couple of game-winners in my career. At that point of the guy, you always like to have that confidence to take the last shot, and I got it."
Lillard sank four 3-point shots in the final 4:16 to keep the Trail Blazers within striking distance. The 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year knocked down a 3-pointer to cut Dallas' lead to 94-91 with 4:15 remaining, then drained another one from long distance to tie it at 94 with 3:58 to go. Nowitzki stemmed the tide with a pair of baskets at the other end, but PORTLAND answered with four straight points, and it was 98-all with 2:29 left.
Nowitzki followed with a three-point play with 2:12 on the clock, but PORTLAND forward Nicolas Batum's jumper cut the Dallas lead to one point with two minutes remaining. Ellis' 3-pointer upped the margin to 104-100 with 1:36 to play. When Nowitzki hit another step-back, Dallas' lead was 106-100 with 45.5 seconds remaining.
Batum cut the lead in half with a 3 with 37 seconds to go. Ellis -- who finished with 22 points -- missed a runner and PORTLAND rebounded, but guard Mo Williams missed a 3-point attempt with 11 seconds to left. After a timeout, Ellis was surrounded at midcourt and the ball went out of bounds. Officials ruled it Dallas ball, but after a video review, the Blazers were given possession with 6.8 seconds remaining.
After another timeout, PORTLAND inbounded to forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who passed out to Lillard, who sank a double-clutch 3-pointer over Dallas forward Shawn Marion with 1.9 seconds left to tie the game at 106.
"I knew I would get a good look," said Lillard, who matched his season high. "We had run a play similar to that in earlier games, and we came off open every time. Marion knew I was trying to raise up, so I knew he'd jump. I head-faked him and he didn't jump as far up as I thought he would, so I jumped to the side. The shot went in."
"We shouldn't have been in that situation," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "But when you get in that situation, you have to get the ball to (either Ellis or Nowitzki). Jose threw a great pass, Monta made a great shot and we get out of here alive."
Dallas jumped to an 11-4 lead in the game's first three minutes and was still ahead 15-8 midway through the first quarter. PORTLAND reeled the Mavericks in, though, and took a 30-28 advantage into the second quarter.
NOTES: PORTLAND F LaMarcus Aldridge collected 19 points and 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. PORTLAND C Robin Lopez had 14 points and 14 rebounds for his eighth double-double and tied a career high with eight offensive boards. ... The loss ended the Blazers' eight-game home win streak. ... PORTLAND entered the game 5-0 this season playing the second of back-to-back games. The Blazers clobbered Utah 130-98 Friday night. ... When the PORTLAND job was open after the 2011-12 season, Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle lobbied hard for his chief assistant, Terry Stotts. Stotts is now in his second season at the position, and the Blazers took a Western Conference-best 17-3 record into the game. "Terry is so deserving of this opportunity," Carlisle said. "He has done more with it than I could possibly imagine anybody doing. The success (the Blazers) are having has a lot to do with how he has approached it. He has completely transformed the vibe here. It's now a high-energy, entertaining, skilled team -- right now, the best in the West. I couldn't be happier for him."