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Dirk posts sixth double-double in eight games

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- When Dirk Nowitzki rested, the Trail
Blazers played catch-up. When he was on the court, Portland played
keep-up.

Nowitzki had 24 points and 15 rebounds -- his sixth double-double
in the last eight games -- to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 95-88
victory over the Blazers Wednesday night.

The Blazers briefly took the lead after Nowitzki rested late in
the third quarter, then tried in vain to regain it in the final
period.

Zach Randolph hit a pair of free throws for Portland to trim the
margin to 84-83, but the Mavericks wouldn't let them get closer.
The Blazers rallied again with 1:38 left when Darius Miles made a
pair of free throws to get Portland within 89-88.

Miles missed a 5-foot jumper with 53.7 seconds left, and Jerry
Stackhouse hit a driving layup to make it 91-88 with 31 seconds
left. Nowitzki made four free throws for the final margin.

Nowitzki said he rolled his ankle a bit in the third quarter,
explaining his four-minute break, but wouldn't take credit for the
victory.

So his coach did.

"He came back in and gave us a big lift. It looked like when
Dirk went out their eyes got as big as a Christmas tree. They
really went on a big run and took the lead, so Dirk came back and
really led the team," acting coach Avery Johnson said.

Dallas has won 11 of its last 14 games.

The Mavericks, who opened the brief two-game road trip with a
97-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, also got 22
points from Michael Finley.

Dallas' Josh Howard remained out with back spasms, so Stackhouse
started at forward for the fourth time this season and scored 20
points.

Portland was led by Damon Stoudamire with 22 points. Joel
Przybilla had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Trail Blazers snapped a six-game losing streak with a
surprising 107-99 victory over San Antonio on Monday. They did it
without Randolph, their top scorer who had missed five games with a
bruised knee.

Randolph was back against the Mavericks, but did not start.
Miles, who had swelling in his knee after the Spurs game, also
played but did not start.

"It's frustrating," Portland forward Ruben Patterson said.
"How can you beat the best team in the league then come back and
play like this against Dallas? I'm so disappointed right now I
don't have much to say."

The Mavericks jumped ahead 31-19 on Finley's 3-pointer, but the
Blazers went on an 11-2 run to come to within 33-30 on Randolph's
jumper and free throw.

But Dallas' Jason Terry and Finley each hit quick 3-pointers to
stretch the margin to 39-30. The Blazers could not catch up, and
were jeered by some in the Rose Garden crowd when they trailed
54-39 at the half.

Finley's 3-pointer put the Mavericks up 64-53 midway through the
third quarter, and Nowitzki sat for the next four minutes. During
that span the Blazers went on an 11-4 run to close to 68-64.

Portland briefly took a 71-70 lead on Stoudamire's 3-pointer.

"When Dirk went out we were a little bit stagnant
offensively," Finley said. "Everybody looked around and it was
just one-on-one instead of a team concept. When he came back in
they started to double team him and we found the open man and made
them pay."

Game notes
Former Blazer Qyntel Woods, waived by the team on Friday
when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse, was picked up
Wednesday by the Miami Heat. ... The Mavericks are 4-1 with Johnson
filling in for coach Don Nelson, who had surgery on his right
shoulder last Thursday. ... The Blazers were without guard Derek
Anderson for the second straight game because of dental work. ...
Randolph said he was about 80 percent healed, and probably would
not practice on Thursday.